Dylan Pereira will start the first race of the 30th Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season after an eventful qualifying session at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Thirty-three cars took to the Imola circuit in the second of the Porsche sessions for the day, following the postponed practice session earlier in the morning.
There was an early stoppage as double Porsche Carrera Cup Italia champion Simone Ianquinta headed in to the gravel trap after taking too much speed into the corner. There was a brief stoppage while his Dinamic Motorsport car was recovered before action got underway again. Despite ending the session early and not setting a representative time, Ianquinta will be allowed to start the race from the back of the grid following a stewards decision.
The BWT Lechner cars swapped fastest times during the opening flying laps as Pereira, Harry King, And Bastian Buus traded fastest times. It was a challenging return for three-time champion Michael Ammermüller as he ran wide off of the circuit towards the end of his flying lap. It wouldn’t be long before the reigning champion Larry ten Voorde jumped to the top of the timing screens.
With six minutes of the session remaining the track was getting busy as all drivers tried to make the most of the improving track conditions. First it was ten Voorde at the top and then Pereira. Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich pushed hard to take third place, before being displaced by rookie Bastian Buus, who put together an impressive lap to take third place.
Speaking after the session, Pereira said, “To be on the safe side, I didn’t push too hard on my first set of tyres and only posted the third fastest time, I took more of a risk on my second attempt, got my tyres up to the ideal temperature and took every kerb perfectly.”
Despite missing out on pole-positoin, reigning champion Larry ten Voorde was happy with his second grid spot. “My second flying lap wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped but I’m starting from the first grid row, and from there, anything is possible in the race,”
Five-time motorcycle champion Jorge Lorenzo was thrown in at the deep end on his first competitive weekend in a Porsche, the Spaniard is taking part in the race in the Porsche Motorsport VIP car. Lorenzo knows that it is going to be a tough weekend as he makes the switch, admitting before the weekend that he was targeting a top-twenty finish.
“As a Supercup newcomer, having only 30 minutes out on the track, which was also interrupted at one point, is very short. I didn’t get a clear run,” said Lorenzo, who is using the weekend to gain experience before a full season in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia.
As the world starts to deal with COVID and restrictions are eased the Imola grandstands were packed, pole-sitter Pereira was happy to see some many people out for the race weekend.
“It’s fantastic to see so many spectators. The lawn grandstands on the hills add to the great atmosphere of this tradition-steeped racetrack,” said Pereira. “The Autodromo is pretty ‘old school’ in other respects, too: if you fly off the track, you end up in a gravel bed rather than on an asphalt area. The track is comparatively fast and the extreme kerb-hopping gives fans a great show.”
For the British drivers it was 2020 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Harry King who took the top honours, qualifying in seventh place as he enters his second full season of Porsche Supercup. Lorcan Hanafin took tenth place in his first qualifying session for the FACH AUTO TECH squad on his debut. Aaron Mason will start from thirtieth place, fourth of the Pro-Am cars.