Al Faisal clinches top-ten qualifying spot in Monza

September 03, 2018

Al Faisal al Zubair in action during the qualifying session in Monza, Italy, on Saturday

Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair set himself up for a good finish in the penultimate round of the 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup at Monza, Italy, on Saturday as claimed an impressive top-ten qualifying position in the eighth round.

Racing at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the Lechner Racing Team Middle East driver climbed as high as sixth in the first half of the 30-minute session and was still classified in eighth with less than two minutes to run after drivers had pitted for tyre changes.

But three of his rivals managed to set fast lap times in the closing seconds and the Omani was pushed down to 11th with a best tour of 1min 50.324sec. But the qualifying times set by rival Julien Andlauer were discounted, which lifted Al Faisal back into tenth on the grid.

Series leader Michael Ammermüller shadowed Mattia Drudi for much of the session, but snatched pole position with a fastest run of 1min 49.551sec with seconds to spare. Thomas Preining qualified in second and Drudi was third. Only five drivers managed to break the 1min 50sec barrier.

Later, Al Faisal said, “I am happy with my qualifying. Monza was the only track I did not test on and I thought it would be a struggle at the beginning. I had a strong first set and a good second set and I am happy.

“Hopefully I can move forward even more in the race. I think the forecast is dry for the race. We tested in both (conditions) now. To be honest I don’t mind what the conditions are like. The goal is a top-ten finish.”

Al Faisal stormed into sixth position after eight minutes of the session with an impressive lap of 1min 51.106sec.

Ammermüller was the first to post a sub 1min 50sec lap to regain the advantage only for Drudi to move in front again. Al Faisal retained sixth with an even quicker fourth lap of 1min 50.585sec.

After tyre changes across the leader board, qualifying resumed with Al Faisal sitting pretty in seventh.

With five minutes remaining, Josh Webster stormed into sixth at the expense of Andlauer and his time demoted Al Faisal to eighth, who then was pushed to 11th.

Ammermüller claimed pole position in the dying seconds with a lap of 1min 49.551sec, as Preining, Drudi, Andlauer and Zaid Ashkanani rounded off the top five. Late fast times by his rivals saw Al Faisal in an eventual 11th with a best run of 1min 50.324sec.