Sensational pole position for Christian Engelhart
Stuttgart. With a sensational best time in qualifying, Christian Engelhart (Germany) posted his first pole position in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup on the Grand Prix circuit in Istanbul Park. In the fight for the best grid spots for the season-opening race of the world’s fastest international one-make series, the Konrad Motorsport pilot beat Nick Tandy, his British teammate and last year’s vice champion, to pole with his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup by 0.164 seconds. The third quickest time went to Austria’s Norbert Siedler (VELTINS Lechner Racing Team).
The fight for top times in the qualifying session on the 5.338 kilometre Formula 1 race track at the Bosphorus was fierce. The top ten clocked times within one second of each other. For quite some time it looked as though the first Supercup pole of the season would go to Norbert Siedler, before Christian Engelhart and Nick Tandy shunted the Austrian off the top of the time charts. Fourth on the grid went to double Supercup champion Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) driving for Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit. In 2009, Bleekmolen won the last Supercup race in Istanbul. His British teammate Sean Edwards takes up the race in fifth from the third grid row – which he shares with title defender René Rast (Germany) in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup fielded by VELTINS Lechner Racing Team.
Kuba Giermaziak (VERVA Racing Team) from Poland, who was voted by his fellow colleagues as the driver with the best outside chances of claiming the title, turned the seventh quickest time. His teammate Stefan Rosina (Slovakia) clinched eighth ahead of the Supercup record-winner Patrick Huisman from the Netherlands. The top ten on the grid is rounded off by his teammate Sebastiaan Bleekemolen. As the best Supercup newcomer, Frenchman Kévin Estre (Attempto Racing) landed on twelfth position.
Christian Engelhart (pole-sitter): “That was awesome. I’m totally over the moon. Initially I experienced slight oversteer, but with the second set of tyres everything ran perfectly. It wasn’t easy putting together a promising Supercup package over winter, but the effort has paid off. And then to set pole right at the start of the season, well that just takes the cake.”
Nick Tandy (2nd in qualifying): “Both cars in the first grid row is, of course, a super result for Konrad Motorsport. Congratulations to my teammate Christian and also to the whole squad. With the first set of tyres things didn’t run so well for me and I was sitting fourth. Then we decided to go out on a new set of tyres and that was without doubt the right decision. I still didn’t manage an optimal lap but it was enough for the second grid spot.”
Norbert Siedler (3rd in qualifying): “That was a great qualifying. I held on to the top time with my first set of tyres for quite some time. Five minutes before the end of the session most of the others went out on new tyres and some were faster. So I opted to go out with new tyres but I couldn’t improve on my time. For tomorrow’s race I now aim to attack.”
1. Christian Engelhart (D), Konrad Motorsport, 1:56.905 minutes
2. Nick Tandy (GB), Konrad Motorsport, + 0.164 seconds
3. Norbert Siedler (A), VELTINS Lechner Racing Team, + 0.184
4. Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit, + 0.234
5. Sean Edwards (GB), Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit, + 0.374
6. René Rast (D), VELTINS Lechner Racing Team, + 0.552
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