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Stunning late lap enables Al Zubair to qualify seventh for Porsche race
September 8, 2019 | 7:39 PM
by Times News Service
Al-Zubair was down at the foot of the rankings and had his work cut out to move up the leader board with 22 minutes of the 30 remaining in the session. - Supplied photo
 
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Monza: Oman’s Al-Faisal Al-Zubair overcame a slow start to his qualifying session for the eighth round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup at Monza to set a stunning late lap of 1min 49.593sec that put him in a superb seventh position amongst the registered drivers for Sunday’s race on the famed Italian circuit.

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.

Al-Zubair’s BWT Lechner Racing Team racing colleague Michael Ammermüller was classified fourth in the final classification behind Larry Ten Voorde and ahead of Dylan Pereira, Dinamic Motorsport’s Mikkel Pedersen and Joey Mawson. Ammermüller’s main title rival Julien Andlauer qualified in 13th.



Al-Zubair said: “It was a very good qualifying session for me and I am very happy with P7. It is a great job coming to Monza and getting P7. It is a track that I enjoy and a good way to show our consistent qualifying sessions this year.

“We have been in the top seven for most of the races. We can be very happy with that. Hopefully we van keep a hood position. We normally see 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. The forecast says that it might be raining but we are prepared for that.”



Al-Zubair knew the importance of a top 10 qualifying position for the last of the European races of the season, but it was Tio Ellinas who set the early target lap of 1min 56.663sec and headed the 32-car field.

His advantage was short-lived, however, and Pedersen hit the front with a 1min 49.871sec tour. Al-Zubair was down at the foot of the rankings and had his work cut out to move up the leader board 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-Zubair climbed to 17th with his fastest lap so far of 1min 50.744sec. Güven hit the front on his fifth lap with a tour of 1min 49.685sec, as the leaders returned to the pits mid-session.

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-Zubair climbed to 16th with a lap of 1min 50.416sec.

Pedersen hit the front again with a run of 1min 49.580sec with just over four minutes on the clock, but defending champion Ammermüller edged ahead with a 1min 49.44sec run with just over three minutes remaining. A stunning lap of 1min 49.593sec catapulted Al-Zubair into fourth place, but he was passed by Joey Mawson and slipped back to fifth.

Al-Zubair held fifth as the clock ticked down but Evans grabbed the advantage at the death with a 1min 49.252sec that pushed Al-Zubair down to sixth place. That final lap was enough to give the Australian pole position from Güven, Ammermüller, Pedersen and Mawson, with Al-Zubair delighted to have qualified in sixth. But the results were changed after the race and Ten Voorde and Pereira moved into third and fifth positions and pushed Al-Zubair down to seventh.

Pedersen had set the fastest lap of 1min 50.377sec in Friday evening’s training session. Larry ten Voorde and Jaap van Lagen were second and third. Al-Zubair ran for 20 laps and a best tour of 1min 51.189sec and slotted into 12th place. Team-mates Ammermüller and Andlauer were fourth and 11th.

The Monza round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup is scheduled for Sunday lunchtime.

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