Think of women racing drivers and the first name to come to mind would probably be IndyCar and NASCAR star Danica Patrick. She’s a big name in the US, but out here in the Middle East people are more likely to be familiar with the name of Christina Nielsen who is taking part in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Dubai Autodrome as the lone woman driver after racing in Bahrain and Yas Marina circuit.
Christina began her career in 2006 with four years of karting, driving for the Zanardi factory team, Chiese Corsa, with whom she qualified for and competed in the world championship. From there it was Formula Ford in 2010 and the Formula ADAC Masters series in 2011. This year she has competed in the German Porsche Carrera Cup and this year's VLN Endurance Racing Championship on the Nurburgring.
And speaking to XPRESS ahead of her race at the Autodrome, Christina revealed why she was disappointed with her performance at the much-anticipated race at Yas Marina circuit: “I always wanted to race at the Yas Marina circuit but things didn’t go according to plan. I had a difficult first race trying to get used to the circuit. The second race was better as I had more speed. But then I had a rear tyre puncture after a collision and that was that.”
Christina said she was hoping for a podium finish in Dubai. “This is my first time at the Autodrome and I have only managed to go around the circuit and take a few notes. Hopefully practice should give me a better idea. But looking at it, I think I can finish on the podium. Right now I am only focussed on points and not on the overall championship,” said the 20-year-old who managed sixth and eighth places in Bahrain and is currently sixth in the overall standings.
This will be the Dane’s last stop in the series as she will forego the next three races to concentrate on testing a new car for the 2013 season. “As it is I won’t be racing in Saudi Arabia, so we decided to use the remaining budget to test the new car for 2013,” she said.
The daughter of famous racer Lars Erik Nielsenwho had 18 podium finishes in the Carrera Cup besides racing in the Le Mans series, Christina finds it hard to explain why there are so few lady drivers in racing. “I know for a fact that men like fast cars, but put a woman in a fast car and she can drive as well. I love cars myself, so I can’t say for the majority of girls why they don’t race,” she said.
So, does she get intimidated by the men?
“Not at all. I know they don’t like to be behind a girl but once you don the helmet, all are the same. It is one car against the other,” she said.