Oman’s young BWT Lechner Racing Team driver finished the practice session with the seventh fastest time, but was forced to call upon a replacement car for qualifying after clipping a barrier and damaging his GT3 towards the end of the practice stint. He eventually qualified for the race in 11th place.
Al Zubair’s team-mate and defending champion Michael Ammermüller set the fastest lap of 1min 35.564sec in the practice session. That was sufficient to beat Jaap van Lagen by just 1/100th of a second.
Mikkel Pedersen, Larry ten Voorde and Florian Latorre rounded off the top five, with Al Zubair finishing the stint with a best lap of 1min 36.430sec before damaging his car.
Ten Voorde went on to claim provisional pole position in the qualifying session with a best tour of 1min 34.939sec. That was 0.024sec quicker than second-placed Ammermüller.
Pedersen, rookie Ayhancan Güven and Latorre rounded off the top five. Al Zubair carded a best lap of 1min 36.991sec to snatch 11th place in the session that ended prematurely.
However, Ten Voorde and Güven were deemed to have set their fastest laps under a yellow flag and pole was handed to Ammermüller with Pedersen in second place. Ten Voorde slipped to third and Güven dropped to sixth.
Al Zubair said, “It was actually really good in the practice because we were as high as P4 or P5 and then we were P7 and I felt we had a bit more to give. Unfortunately I made a bit of a mistake and went off.
“There is no forgiveness here when you make a mistake. I clipped a barrier.
“We were thankfully able to get another car for qualifying. I finished P11 and I was a little bit disappointed with that. I thought that we were much faster than P11. I got traffic and the session was stopped before the end. That was definitely not ideal. I really think I should have been sixth or seventh. It’s tough here to be honest.”
The second race in the Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup roars into life at 10.30am on Sunday.