Al Faisal struggles, qualifies 17th in seventh round at Spa

A frenetic and a difficult qualifying session during the seventh round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium saw Oman's Al Faisal al Zubair struggle and could qualify 17th  among a large grid of 32 racers for Sunday's race.

The BWT Lechner Racing Team driver, who is currently placed overall tenth in the drivers’ championship, recorded a best lap of 2 minutes23.69 seconds during the 30-minute qualifying session.

However, traffic on his crucial qualifying laps meant that he failed to challenge the leading group, as the fight for pole 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 Güven to second place and Dutchman Larry Ten Voorde to third.

BWT Lechner Racing Team title rivals Michael Ammermüller 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.

Later Al Faisal said, “I actually felt confident coming into qualifying. I was not happy with my practice on Friday. But I knew I had the pace for a top-eight spot. It would have been great, but I got traffic on three out of my four laps and it just didn’t go to plan. It’s sad as the last few qualifying sessions I have been P6 or P7. Now we are starting way back. The goal is obviously to move way forward during the race tomorrow.”

Qualifying took place on Saturday 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 Faisal 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.

Ammermüller 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 Faisal climbed to 15th with his best lap of 2min 23.699sec.

Florian Latorre was the first of the usual front-runners to return to an empty circuit with a little over ten 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 Ammermüller.

The lead swapped several times in the closing minutes and Güven carded a 2min 22.735sec lap to snatch provisional pole from Ten Voorde, Evans and Ammermüller. That time stood until Pereira mounted a late charge to outdo them all with a pole-winning 2min 22.508sec that demoted Güven to second and Ten Voorde, Evans and Ammermüller to third, fourth and fifth.

Al Faisal 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 Ammermüller held off a challenge from Dylan Pereira to claim the fastest lap of 2min 23.677sec during his 17-lap stint. Pereira’s teammate Tio Ellinas was third. Al Faisal ran for 15 laps and carded a best tour of 2min 25.307sec to secure 14th position.

muscat daily recycle