The qualifying of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Belgium’s Spa turned into a tactical thriller. In the last four minutes of the session the grid line-up was given a good shakeup. Porsche Junior Matteo Cairoli (I/Fach Auto Tech) drove the fastest time in 2:23.818 minutes, with Porsche Junior Sven Müller (D/Lechner MSG Racing Team) close behind clocked at 2:23.873 minutes. The third quickest lap was set by Porsche Junior Mathieu Jaminet (F/Martinet by Almeras). Due to a penalty from free practice (sector time too fast under yellow), Cairoli was relegated three positions down the grid. This put Müller, the current leader of the championship, on pole position, with Jaminet moving up beside him on the first grid row. Behind them, Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing) will line up ahead of Cairoli.
The Porsche pilots tackled the midday qualifying in hot temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius. At first, all drivers attempted to turn a quick “clean” lap, since “crossing the track perimeter” proved to be an issue with the drivers, which resulted in numerous top times being annulled during and after the session. Jaminet refused to be drawn into the tactical games and on fresh tyres clocked a best time which kept him at the top of the tables for 25 minutes. However, the more rubber that was left on the racing line by the Michelin tyres, the faster the times became. The risk of a yellow flag in the final minutes did not materialise and the front runners could improve on their top times. “It was an extremely close qualifying. The gap of 55-thousandths of a second between me and Matteo over such a long lap is tiny. With tyre wear a major issue in Spa, the trick in the race will be to conserve the tyres over the eleven laps,” explained Müller, who has already won three Supercup races this season.
“After the first set of tyres I had the feeling that I could achieve pole position. With my second set the car felt completely different and I couldn’t improve my time as I had expected. But of course second on the grid is very good. It’s especially impressive to see how many spectators are watching in the grandstands. I’m looking forward to the race,” said Jaminet. Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing) takes up round seven of the championship on Sunday from third on the grid. The 20-year-old Italian, Cairoli, who currently ranks second in the series, was disappointed with his penalty but remained optimistic: “I’m not very happy that I have to start from fourth place, but I know that I’ll have a good setup for the race and I’m definitely aiming for the podium.” Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner MSG Racing Team) tackles the race from fifth, with Robert Lukas (Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport) from Poland on sixth. Zaid Ashkanani (Lechner Racing Middle East) from Kuwait managed to secure his best qualifying result so far this session with seventh ahead of Klaus Bachler (A/race:pro motorsport).
The 6.972-kilometre circuit with its many famous passages will become the benchmark for the 30-strong field on Sunday at 11.35 hours.
Qualifying result Spa
1. Matteo Cairoli (I/Fach Auto Tech), 2:23.818 minutes*
2. Sven Müller (D/Lechner MSG Racing Team), 2:23.873 minutes
3. Mathieu Jaminet (F/Martinet by Almeras), 2:24.279 minutes
4. Christian Engelhart (D/MRS GT-Racing), 2:24.591 minutes
5. Michael Ammermüller (D/Lechner MSG Racing Team), 2:24.615 minutes
6. Robert Lukas (PL/Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport), 2:24.722 minutes
7. Zaid Ashkanani (KUW/Lechner Racing Middle East), 2:25.037 minutes
8. Klaus Bachler (A/race:pro motorsport), 2:25.115 minutes