Al Faisal eyes fightback after frenetic qualifying

SPA, Belgium: Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair will start the seventh round of the 2019 Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium from 17th position after a frenetic qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
The BWT Lechner Racing Team driver currently holds 10th in the Drivers’ Championship and recorded a best lap of 2min 23.69sec during the 30-minute qualifying session. Traffic on his crucial qualifying laps meant that he was not able to challenge the leading group on this occasion, however, and the fight for pole position changed hands on several occasions through the closing minutes.
Luxembourg’s Dylan Pereira snatched a last gasp pole position with a fastest lap of 2min 22.508sec that demoted Turkey’s Ayhancan Guven to second place and Dutchman Larry Ten Voorde to third. BWT Lechner Racing Team title rivals Michael Ammermuller and Julien Andlauer suffered mixed fortunes in the qualifying session with the German finishing fifth and the Frenchman ending the stint down in ninth place.
Al Zubair said: “I actually felt very confident coming into qualifying. I was not happy with my practice on Friday. I knew I had the pace for the top eight. This would have been great, but I got traffic on three out of four of my laps and it just didn’t go to plan. It’s sad because the last few qualifying sessions have been P6 or P7 and now we are starting way back. The goal is obviously to move way forward during the race.”
Qualifying took place on Saturday lunchtime and was again crammed into a 30-minute session for the 32-car field. Pereira set the early target lap of 2min 23.121sec and that stood until Jaxon Evans carded a lap of 2min 23.054sec. Al Zubair opened his account with a run of 2min 31.401sec, as Jaap van Lagen leapt ahead of Pereira and into second place with a 2min 23.068sec tour.
Ammermuller was not to be denied though and the defending champion stormed to the top of the running order with a 2min 22.787sec run, as Al Zubair climbed to 15th with his best lap of 2min 23.699sec. Berkay Besler and Larry Ten Voorde also displaced Evans and Van Lagen to snatch second and third before the leaders returned to the pits with around 19 minutes of the session remaining. Ammermuller’s title rival Andlauer was down in 13th place.
Florian Latorre was the first of the usual front-runners to return to an empty circuit with a little over 10 minutes of the session to run. Ten Voorde went fastest with a 2min 22.744sec lap with five minutes on the clock and that provisional pole position stood through the closing minutes as both Ten Voorde and Evans moved in front of Ammermuller.
The lead swapped several times in the closing minutes and Guven came from nowhere to card a 2min 22.735sec lap to snatch provisional pole from Ten Voorde, Evans and Ammermuller. That time stood until Pereira mounted a late charge to outdo them all with a pole-winning 2min 22.508sec that demoted Guven to second and Ten Voorde, Evans and Ammermuller to third, fourth and fifth. Al Zubair was not able to beat his previous lap time and had slipped to 17th at the end of the stint.
Teams were permitted a crucial training session on the Spa circuit on Friday evening and BWT Lechner Racing’s Ammermuller held off a challenge from Dylan Pereira to claim the fastest lap of 2min 23.677sec during his 17-lap stint.