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Porsche hopes to atone for controversial 2021 defeat in WEC finale

Michael Christensen hopes Porsche will be able to win the last-ever GTE Pro title in the World Endurance Championship after the “sad” manner of last year's finale.

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR - 19 GTE-PRO: Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre

JEP / Motorsport Images

Porsche and Ferrari will go head-to-head for championship glory in this Saturday’s Bahrain 8 Hours finale, the last-ever race for the GTE Pro division that has been a staple of the WEC since its rebirth in 2012.

Porsche and Ferrari were involved in a similar close scrap during last year’s season finale at the Bahrain International Circuit, which ended with Christensen being spun around by the Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi with just over 10 minutes to run in the race.

Pier Guidi was immediately told by the race control to hand back the position to Christensen but the order was later withdrawn, allowing the Italian and team-mate James Calado to win the race and with it claim the drivers’ title.

Porsche initially revealed an intent to protest the decision of the stewards, but eventually decided against taking the matter to the International Court of Appeal.

Returning to the scene of their controversial clash after 12 months, Christensen said winning this year’s GTE Pro title is “important” for Porsche after the manner in which last year’s championship was decided.

“You always want to finish off well in anything and I think this is one of them,” Christensen told Autosport.

“For us we missed out a little bit last year in a certain sad way. So for us, I wouldn't say [it means] more than anyone else because that's wrong to say, but it means a lot obviously.

“It's very important for us to try and win it.”

Porsche’s motorsport Thomas Laudenbach admitted the marque’s title defeat to Ferrari “hurt” and hopes it will be able to end its factory programme with the RSR-19 GTE car on a high.

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR - 19 GTE-PRO: Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR - 19 GTE-PRO: Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“It's the last year for this class, it's the last year in our hands as a factory entry of the RSR,” Laudenbach told Autosport.

“So for sure we want to finish with a victory especially because we lost the world championship here 8-10 mins before the end of the race and it hurt.

“For sure the goal is to win the championship.”

Ferrari holds a small advantage in the championship standings over its arch rival Porsche thanks to victories at both Spa and Fuji, with the #51 AF Corse 488 GTE of Pier Guidi and Calado leading the #92 911 RSR-19 of Christensen and Kevin Estre by 11 points.

Both manufacturers got a chance to complete dedicated long runs in the three practice sessions ahead of qualifying and Christensen admits that Ferrari appeared quicker on a track that is known to be heavy on the degradation.

“Sadly we see Ferrari being quite strong in the long runs,” Christensen said before qualifying.

“This track is really hard on the tyres, so it will be tough. We have to be really careful with what we do because it can hurt us in the long run.

“It's hot to start with and then it gets cooler. There are also some levels to that where the race can go in one or the other direction.

“But generally Ferrari has an edge on the long runs.”

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