Confident Al Faisal qualifies seventh at Monza
Prior to the start of the eighth round of the 2019 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the famed Monza circuit in Italy, Oman's Al Faisal al Zubair had admitted his liking for the track.
And a sensational late lap of 1min 49.593sec during the qualifying session on Saturday got the Omani racer a seventh spot among the registered drivers for the race, giving him a good chance for a top-seven finish.
The BWT Lechner Racing Team driver was down in 31st of the 32 entrants before returning to the pits midway through the session, but he found space for a clean run in the closing stages to produce an impressive lap on the fastest circuit of the season.
Australia’s Jaxon Evans claimed a last gasp run of 1min 49.252sec to pip Turkey’s Ayhancan Güven to pole position.
A delighted Al Faisal said, “It was a very good qualifying session for me. I am very happy with P7 at Monza. As I said before, it is a track that I enjoy and the qualifying proved my consistency during the qualifying sessions this year.
“I have been in the top-seven for most of the races and can be happy with that. Hopefully, I can keep a good position tomorrow. There is generally a lot of drama at Monza. I need to stay out of the drama and finish the race and get good points. That would be ideal. There is a forecast of rains but I am prepared for that.”
Al Faisal was down at the foot of the rankings and had his work cut out to move up the leaderboard with 22 minutes of the 30 remaining in the session.
Evans hit the front on the third of the full laps with a run of 1min 49.798sec, as Al Faisal climbed to 17th with his fastest lap so far of 1min 50.744sec.
The leading group made their way back on to the circuit with around 11 minutes of the session to run and pole position would be determined in the last five. Güven maintained his advantage from Evans, as Al Faisal climbed to 16th with a lap of 1min 50.416sec.
A stunning lap of 1min 49.593sec catapulted the Omani to fourth, but he was soon passed by Joey Mawson.
Al Faisal held fifth as the clock ticked down but Evans grabbed the advantage at the death with a 1min 49.252sec to push him down to sixth place. That final lap was enough to give the Australian pole position, with Al Faisal happy to have qualified in sixth. But the results were changed following the stewards decision and it pushed the Omani down to seventh.
Earlier, during Friday’s practice session, Al Faisal ran for 20 laps and a best tour of 1min 51.189sec to be slotted into 12th place.