Monte Carlo: Young Omani driver Al Faisal Al Zubair was unfazed by the glitz and glamour of his surroundings and delivered a professional performance in qualifying for Sunday’s third round of the prestigious Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on Monte Carlo’s famous street circuit.
With family support from his father, Khaled Al Zubair – the head of Oman’s Olympic Committee, the FZ Racing driver clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 36.893 seconds in his Lechner Racing Middle East-run Porsche on Friday morning.
Twenty-eight Porsches took part in the 30-minute session on the famous Monaco street circuit. The Omani ran 16 tours of the course and settled into 20th position.
“I’m quite happy with this position,” said Al Faisal.
“I was only able to run for 45 minutes yesterday and I must remember this is my first time in Monaco. There were a lot of cars and a lot of traffic and it was not easy to find a clear track to set a fast time.
“I also had to be careful to manage the tyres during qualifying. I think the traffic damaged my lap times but I improved a lot since yesterday.
“My target is to finish and gain as much experience as I can and to stay clear of accidents and potential problems. This is the most difficult circuit in the world. There are no run-off areas and you have to be precise with your lines to avoid hitting the barriers. It is also very difficult to pass, because it is very narrow.”
Team manager Walter Lechner, added: “I am very happy for Al Faisal’s position today. The most important thing I always tell him is to come back in one piece.
“This is his first visit to this very difficult race track. He drove very well and I am looking to the future because we can start working in Europe on testing and getting him more experience. Today, as we saw in qualifying, there were nine or 10 cars that touched the Armco and some of them heavily, so he did a very good job.”
The 19-year-old former winner of the Middle East’s Silver class and GCC Rookie class championship titles is also eligible for the Supercup’s rookie class.
Pole position for Sunday’s race fell to Al Zubair’s teammate Michael Ammermüller of the Lechner MSG Racing Team with a best lap of one minute and 34.305 seconds.
The German ran for 15 laps and completed the session 0.519 seconds quicker than Norwegian Dennis Olsen. Daniel Cammish was third and Zaid Ashkanani and Matt Campbell rounded off the top five qualifiers.
Al Zubair will be in action for the Porsche Supercup race from 09.45hrs (11.45hrs Oman time) on Sunday.