Barcelona: Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair improved on his already impressive qualifying position to reach the chequered flag in seventh place at the opening round of the 2019 Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup at Barcelona’s 4.655km Circuit de Catalunya.
The BWT Lechner Racing Team driver had qualified in eighth place and, despite losing one position on the opening lap, he bounced back strongly to regain his place and then move up to seventh in what developed into a processional race from then on.
Pole position winner Julien Andlauer, also of the BWT Lechner Racing Team, led from start-to-finish to begin his season in winning style. He held off the challenge from runner-up Ayhancan Güven and third-placed team-mate Michael Ammermüller.
Al-Zubair said: “It was an amazing race. I was P9 at the start and then up to P8. From then on, I had pretty good pace and the front pack never really went ahead. I was managing the tyres really well. I think it shows now that I am one of the front cars. I am very happy with that result.
“It is a major motivational boost for me. I hope that we can continue on this way. I am feeling way for comfortable than I ever was in the car.”
The leading qualifying trio of Andlauer, Güven and Ammermüller held station in the top three through lap one, but Al-Zubair dropped one place to ninth and then regained his original starting position on the second tour. The Omani improved on that position by climbing to seventh in the 28-car field on lap three at the expense of Jaxon Evans and settled into the leading group behind sixth-placed Tio Ellinas.
Ellinas moved in front of Jaap van Lagen on the fourth tour of the Catalunyan circuit but Al-Zubair continued to hold seventh and there were no changes in the running order at the front of the field with Andlauer leading the way.
The procession continued into laps six and seven and Al-Zubair was running solidly in seventh at the halfway point behind the leading trio, Mikkel Pedersen, Ellinas and Van Lagen. There were no changes to the running order into laps 10 and 11 either and the young Omani remained on course for a career-best finish in the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup. Andlauer continued to lead into lap 12 and the top eight held station into the last two tours of the circuit.