2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup: Al Faisal finishes 13th in Porsche Supercup opener
Amid a top-class field, Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair finished the opening round of the 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup with a 13th spot in the 30-strong field at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.
Racing for the Lechner Racing Team Middle East, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East champion had begun the 14-lap race from 14th on the grid and managed to improve by a spot in the end. The 20 year old had climbed up to 12th during the race.
Defending champion Michael Ammermüller (BWT Lechner Racing) led from start-to-finish to record victory and bag 20 points. Jaap Van Lagen (Fach Auto Tech) finished second and Dylan Pereira (L/Momo Megatron Lechner Racing) rounded off the podium places.
Speaking after the ten-leg series opener, Al Faisal said, “It was not the result we wanted though I gained a place from qualifying. But its not too bad, considering that we managed to pick up two points to open account from the first race itself.
“It is a long season ahead and I am confident of improvement and better results in the races ahead.”
The Omani racer said, “It was an okay race. I felt we had more pace than what our result suggests. We had a little incident in the race that didn’t help. Twice the safety car came out (second and seventh lap) and that wasn’t good either. I started to lose grip towards the end of the race and it was not easy to drive on the 4.655-km racetrack.”
Ammermüller led young Frenchman Julien Andlauer and rookie Florian Latorre from pole position into a race on a drying track after overnight rain.
The German maintained his lead through the opening laps, although Van Lagen moved up to second place at the expense of Andlauer and Nick Yelloly climbed to fourth. Al Faisal dropped two places on the first lap to 16th. However, the Omani racer moved back to 15th on lap four and then regained 14th on lap five at the expense of Mikkel Pedersen, as the German continued to lead the race from Van Lagen, Pereira and Andlauer.
Al Faisal gradually took charge after Latorre suffered problems. The Omani managed to pass Mattia Drudi to snatch 12th place as the race reached its halfway point with 27 cars still running. Drudi, however, regained his 12th and pushed Al Faisal to 13th on lap ten.
Ammermüller duly held on to claim the win while Al Faisal passed the chequered flag 13th.
“I’m so happy with this successful weekend. It was important to maintain the right tyre temperature in the two safety car phases, and I managed that very well,” said Ammermüller.
Round two of the Supercup will be contested in Monaco from May 24-27. The twisty 3.337-km city circuit through the streets of Monte Carlo is considered particularly demanding.