Al-Zubair, the Lechner Racing Team Middle East driver who won the 2017/2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, set a fast lap of 1min 31.591sec early in the session on the 4.318km circuit, where 32 drivers made it difficult for anyone to find a clean run without traffic. That put him in third position for a time until he fell back to 19th as the session progressed.
Al-Wahaibi is taking part in his first ever round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup and settled into 25th place with a best lap of 1min 31.999sec in a tense and very close session.
Thomas Preining followed up his fastest lap in the training session on Friday evening with the pole-winning lap of 1min 30.574sec. Julien Andlauer qualified in second position and Florian Latorre was third. Defending champion and series leader Michael Ammermüller was classified down in seventh place.
Al-Zubair said: “In the beginning it was a good session. We were three-tenths off (pole), which showed we had the pace compared to everyone else. In the second section we just did not go faster. I couldn’t connect a fast lap and I got two warnings for track limits. I know I have the pace and I will need to make up the positions in the race.”
Al-Wahaibi added: “With a lot of penalties yesterday, they decided to allow a leeway on some corners in qualifying, but they did not specify how much leeway they would give. They allowed it for some and not for others. It was not clear and it hampered our chances of setting a quick time.
“For me, today was learning how to deal with traffic in the Super Cup. It is quite difficult to manage how much space you have in front of you. I had a slower car in front on my two good laps and, despite flashing them to get out of the way, they didn’t and I lost a lot of time. Hopefully I can push on for the race.”
Jaap Van Lagen laid down the gauntlet with the early target lap of 1min 31.316sec in the 30-minute qualifying session
Al-Zubair found a clean track and posted a potent lap of 1min 31.591sec to storm into third position. Al-Wahaibi held 10th in the opening minutes before all 32 cars were out on the circuit - after several drivers had been penalised to miss the opening five minutes of qualifying for track infringements during Friday’s training session.
With half of the session remaining, Preining sat in provisional pole with a lap of 1min 31.170sec from Nick Yelloly and Andlauer. Al-Zubair and Al-Wahaibi were down in 15th and 21st positions, but Mark Radcliffe clipped the barriers and retired on his fourth lap. Dakar Rally-winning motorcyclist Matthias Walkner of Austria was running as a guest of Porsche at the rear of the field and eventually finished 31st of the 32 entrants.
Preining strengthened his hold on pole with a lap of 1min 31.041sec heading into the last 10 minutes of the session. Al-Zubair and Al-Wahaibi retained 15th and 21st places, but slipped to 19th and 15th over the closing laps of a session that was won by Preining (1min 30.574sec) from Andlauer and Latorre.
Preining was the fastest of the 32 drivers in Friday evening’s training session on the Red Bull Circuit with a quickest lap of 1min 31.363sec. Yelloly and Andlauer were second and third.
Al-Zubair ran for 24 laps and settled into 14th position with a best tour of 1min 32.091sec, less than seven-tenths of a second off the quickest time. Al-Wahaibi was sixth of the rookies in 18th place with a best run of 1min 32.310sec during his 20 laps on the circuit.
The third round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup takes centre stage on the Red Bull circuit from 12.45hrs on Sunday.