Modest start for Al Faisal in Porsche Supercup opener
Oman's Al Faisal al Zubair's second season in the world-class Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup began on a modest note as the 20 year old qualified 14th for the first race at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday.
Competing in a highly-competitive grid of 30 cars with drivers from 15 countries, Al Faisal, racing for Lechner Racing Middle East, admitted after the qualifying round that 'it was not the best session'.
Al Faisal said, “I think the session was alright, but not the best. We had the pace to get into the top-ten, but we had a bit of traffic in qualifying. I think we can expect to make up a few positions in the race and finish inside the top-ten. It’s difficult in the Supercup, but I am confident that I can do it.”
“On two occasions, I was blocked on my fastest lap and that forced me down. I am still learning and I hope to gain in experience,” he added.
After three laps, Al Faisal was down in 15th position with a best lap of 1min 50.185sec, but he climbed to tenth with a fourth run of 1min 48.509sec. However, Al Faisal’s best lap of 1min 48.288sec on the 4.655-km racetrack could finally get him 14th place on the grid.
Last year’s champion Michael Ammermüller claimed the pole with a lap of 1min 47.252sec.
“That was great fun. After the pit stop I went back out on the track at the perfect time. This was decisive for my top time,” said Ammermüller (BWT Lechner Racing).
Lining up on the first grid row next to the 32 year old is Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer (1m47.416s).
Andlauer’s French teammate Florian Latorre will start from P3 (1m:47.587s). In sunny weather and an outside temperature of 20°C, 30 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup took part.
Ammermüller underpinned his claim on the pole position by posting his first top time just eight minutes into the session. With only six minutes before the end of the 30-minute qualifying, Latorre clocked the fastest time on fresh tyres. Shortly after, 18 year old Andlauer undercut his compatriot’s time.
However, Ammermüller as a seasoned Porsche specialist kept a cool head and snatched pole position in a last-minute dash.
Al Faisal's Lechner Racing Middle East team driver Philip Hamprecht finished tenth with a time of 1m:47.965s.