Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup: Al Faisal qualifies 11th at sweltering Spielberg

Al Faisal al Zubair in action during the qualifying session of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Spielberg, Austria, on Saturday

Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair overcame punishing on-track heat in blistering temperatures to qualify in 11th position for the third round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the Red Bull Circuit at Spielberg in Austria on Saturday.

The BWT Lechner Racing Team driver posted 15 laps of the 4.326km circuit in the 30-minute session and a best lap of 1min 31.056sec enabled him to sandwich his GT3 between the two Porsches of Mikkel Pedersen and Marvin Klein, despite in-car temperatures reaching in excess of 50°C.

Frenchman Julien Andlauer claimed pole position with a potent lap of 1min 30.457sec. Larry Ten Voorde and Dylan Pereira rounded off the top three positions after Andlauer had set the early target lap of 1min 31.495sec and Michael Al Faisal said, “Considering all the circumstances, with no testing due to my exams, I can be happy with P11. I wasfour-tenths from P2 and that is not too bad. I am confident that I can go for a top-ten in the race tomorrow. It is not easy here. We are used to safety cars and accidents. Hopefully we can keep our nose clean and continue.”

Al Faisal had been down in 27th place after the opening lap with a run of 1min 39.227sec before leaping up to 17th with a run of 1min 31.821sec. He returned to the pits in 19th place after eight laps and headed back into action with ten minutes of the session remaining.

The Omani slipped to 20th shortly after the restart, but a stunning 11th lap of 1min 31.366sec catapulted him into tenth position before he began to slip back again to 13th.

An even faster lap of 1min 31.294sec lifted him back into the top-12 and then a 13th run of 1min 31.056sec with two minutes of the session to run moved him up even higher to 11th – a position he held to the finish. Earlier in the practice session, Al Faisal had to settle for 14th of the 30 runners with a best lap of 1min 31.719sec. 

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