Kristian Poulsen is a Danish racing driver who has an impressive record in the sports car racing and touring car racing, but also in rallying. He achieved his greatest success in 2014, when he was the GTE Am class winner at Le Mans 24 Hours but also FIA WEC champion in the GTE Am class, driving an Aston Martin Vantage. He has one more class victory at Le Mans, winning the LMP2 class in 2009 with Porsche RS Spyder.
In the touring car racing, Poulsen was among leading independent drivers in the World Touring Car Championship for two years in a row, winning the Yokohama Trophy in 2011, while driving BMW. In rallying, he was the German vice-champion in 2006, while driving a Toyota Corolla WRC.
Starting a career in a Peugeot 106 Rallye
Kristian Poulsen started his racing career in rallying in 1996, driving a Peugeot 106 Rallye in Danish Rally Championship. In following years, he also participated in some European Rally Championship events, using a Peugeot 106, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III and Toyota Celica GT-Four.
WRC debut in at 1999 Rally Catalunya
In 1999, Poulsen switched to his first World Rally Car, driving Ford Escort WRC in domestic and international events. In April 1999, he made a World Rally Championship debut, participating in Rally Catalunya. He spent one more season with Ford Escort WRC before switching to Mitsubishi in 2001.
From 2001 to 2004, Poulsen contested in rally events all over Europe in different Mitsubishi rally cars (Lancer Evo VI, Carisma GT, Lancer Evo VII) before he switched to Toyota Corolla WRC in the second part of 2004 season.
German rally vice-champion in a Toyota Corolla WRC
Poulsen was driving Toyota Corolla WRC mostly in the German Rally Championship, finishing 8th in the points in 2005. In 2006, he improved his performance to finish second in the German championship, behind Matthias Kahle. He also participated at ADAC Rallye Deutschland, finishing in the 15th place.
In 2007, Poulsen participated in several international rally events in a Škoda Fabia WRC. After that, he took a break from rallying, switching his focus on other sorts of motor racing.
Third place at 2007 European Touring Car Cup
Driving a BMW 320si for Poulsen Motorsport, Kristian spent a full season in the 2007 Danish Touring Car Championship, finishing 18th in the points without wins or podiums.
His greatest success in 2007 was the third place at European Touring Car Cup which took place at Adria International Raceway in Italy. He was sixth in the first race and second in the Race 2, ending third in the overall points behind Michel Nykjaer and Tomas Engstrom.
WTCC debut with his own team in 2008
In 2008, besides participating in Danish championship 11th) and European Touring Car Cup (6th), Poulsen made a debut in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. He was driving the #60 BMW 320si for his own team in three rounds and for Wiechers Sport in one round.
For the 2009 WTCC season, Poulsen joined Liqui Moly Team Engstler and spent a full season in the #26 BMW 320si. He ended a season sixth among independent drivers.
Class victory at 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours
In 2009, Poulsen had a victorious debut in the sports car racing. He joined Danish Team Essex to drive the #31 Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 prototype in Spa round of the Le Mans Series and then at Le Mans 24 Hours. He was the winner in both races. His co-drivers were Casper Elgaard and Emmanuel Collard.
In his Le Mans debut, Poulsen and his teammate scored a dominant LMP2 victory, with a 14-lap advantage over the second-placed crew.
One of the best independent WTCC drivers for two seasons
In 2010, Poulsen stayed in the World Touring Car Championship with BMW 320si, driving the #24 car for Poulsen Motorsport. Despite skipping two opening rounds, he finished third in the final standings of independent drivers, after scoring seven wins in a category.
In 2011, Poulsen rejoined Liqui Moly Team Engstler to drive the #11 BMW 320 TC. He scored six independent wins to take the Yokohama Drivers' Trophy for the best independent driver.
Joining Aston Martin Racing in 2012
In 2012, Poulsen made the significant switch in his career, leaving touring car racing and joining Aston Martin Racing to compete in GT races. He spent a full season in the ADAC GT Masters, driving the #33 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 together with Christoffer Nygaard. Scoring one victory at Sachsenring, they finished 13th in the points.
In June 2012, Poulsen returned to Le Mans, driving the #99 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE alongside Allan Simonsen and Christoffer Nygaard in the GTE Am class. They retired after 31 laps.
2013 - the tragic loss of a co-driver Allan Simonsen
In 2013, Poulsen joined Aston Martin Racing as a full-time driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, sharing the #95 Vantage GTE with Nygaard and Simonsen. They scored GTE Am class victory in the season-opening race at Silverstone.
In June, at Le Mans 24 Hours, a tragedy struck the team when Allan Simonsen lost his life in an accident early in the race. Nicki Thiim came as a replacement in all-Danish crew and Poulsen finished fourth in the final GTE Am classification after scoring two more class wins (Fuji, Bahrain).
World champion and Le Mans winner in 2014
Kristian Poulsen stayed in the #95 Aston Martin in 2014 FIA WEC season, scoring four class victories and winning the FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE Am drivers, together with David Heinemeier-Hansson. They were class winners at Silverstone, Le Mans, Fuji and Bahrain.
In all three races, the third driver was Nicki Thiim. At Le Mans, they beat Proton Competition's Porsche by two laps.
2015 – double programme with Aston Martin and Corvette
In 2015, Poulsen left Aston Martin Racing but continued to drive Aston Martin Vantage for another squad, joining Danish team Massive Motorsport in the European Le Mans Series. Sharing a car with Casper Elgaard and Simon Moller, he scored two GTC class podiums to finish 7th in the points.
Although he left Aston Martin Racing, Poulsen didn't leave FIA WEC, switching to Larbre Competition to drive the #50 Chevrolet Corvette in the GTE Am class. His teammates were Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti. Scoring no wins or podiums and retiring at Le Mans, he finished 15th in the final standings.
Back to rallying in 2015
The season 2015 was last for Poulsen in the sports car racing. He returned to rallying, driving a Škoda Fabia R5 in Denmark. In 2016, he scored a podium with Fabia R5 in one race of the German Rally Championship and then participated in German WRC round, finishing 15th in the WRC2 class. In 2017, he again participated in one German rally event with Škoda Fabi R5 but also in the Rallylegend event in San Marino, scoring second place in a Toyota Corolla WRC.
In the circuit racing, Poulsen participated in several races of the 2016 24H Series with Massive Motorsport and then joined Liqui Moly Team Engstler in one round of the TCR Germany, driving a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.