PCC Impressive top 10 qualifying time for Oman's Al-Zubair at Nurburgring
PORSCHE CARRERA CUP GERMANY
Rounds 9/10 – Nürburgring, Germany, September 8th-10th, 2017
For immediate release
Saturday, September 9th, 2017
OMAN’S AL-ZUBAIR CLAIMS TOP 10 QUALIFYING TIME IN PORSCHE
CARRERA CUP AT GERMANY’S NÜRBURGRING SPRINT CIRCUIT
· Christopher Zöchling snatches late pole position from Nick Yelloly
NÜRBURGRING (GERMANY): Oman’s Al-Faisal Al-Zubair continued to impress on his first qualifying appearance in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany at the Nürburgring Sprint circuit on Saturday.
The Omani, who is working with Zele Racing at the last three rounds of the German series, carded a best lap of 1min 30.793sec to qualify in 10th of the 25 entrants in a session where the top 14 was separated by a mere 0.990 seconds.
Pole position for the first of the two races fell to Christopher Zöchling, who posted a late lap of 1min 30.000sec to oust Nick Yelloly, Christian Engelhart and Dennis Olsen from a possible pole position in changeable track conditions on the 3.629km circuit.
“It was a very good result for my first time here qualifying at the Nürburgring,” said FZ Racing’s Al-Faisal. “I have to be happy with that because I was learning the track and I am sure once we have analysed the data we will get some positive results.
“The weather was very unpredictable. It started dry and then it was wet and then we had dry again. I have a good starting position now for the race.”
Heavy rain and overcast skies dampened spirits before the start of Saturday morning’s qualifying session. The track was much drier by the time Olsen posted an early target time of 1min 34.033sec. Engelhart went quicker soon afterwards with a lap of 1min 32.216sec, as Al-Zubair carded an early 1min 36.204sec lap to move into 15th of the 25 entrants and then improved with a 1min 33.769sec lap.
Olsen moved back to the top of the rankings with 1min 30.847sec, only for Nick Yelloly to surpass that lap with an impressive 1min 30.381sec tour. Al-Zubair was also in good form and a stunning lap of 1min 31.957sec catapulted the Omani into 10th. An early run of 1min 30.953sec moved Ammermüller into fourth and pushed Al-Zubair back to 11th.
Heading into the last 15 minutes of the session it began to rain a little heavier, although Yelloly continued to lead from Olsen, Engelhart and Ammermüller, with Al-Zubair in 12th position after everyone had pitted to replace slick tyres with wet rubber and waited for the shower to pass over.
Several drivers, including Ammermüller and Olsen, returned to the pits to refit slicks in drying conditions and returned to the track with five or six minutes remaining. A mere 1.2 seconds separated the top 25 drivers.
A time of 1min 31.206sec lifted Al-Zubair back to 11th after he had slipped back to 14th, but the Omani was soon back in 13th as Engelhart snatched the lead with 1min 30.182sec with two minutes to run.
Al-Zubair was not to be denied either and a best lap of 1min 30.793sec rekindled the Omani’s challenge and moved him into ninth, as Christopher Zöchling stormed to the top of the rankings with a 1min 30.130sec.
Zöchling held on to claim pole position from Yelloly with an even quicker lap of 1min 30.000sec, with Engelhart and Olsen in third and fourth and Al-Zubair finishing the session in an impressive 10th on his debut in the prestigious German racing series.
Friday afternoon’s training enabled Al-Zubair to run for 25 laps on the Sprint course and the Omani set some impressive lap times, culminating with a run of 1min 40.828sec that catapulted him into ninth of the 25 drivers. Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup front-runner Dennis Olsen set the fastest lap of 1min 39.298sec. Arch rival Michael Ammermüller was second and Larry Ten Voorde was third.
The first of the races takes place late on Saturday afternoon and the second takes centre stage on the circuit from 11.40hrs (13.40hrs Oman time) on Sunday.
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