Twenty minutes into qualifying for the eighth round of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup on the Hungaroring near Budapest, Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) uncut last year’s fastest qualifying time by 1.2 seconds with 1:48.516 minutes (=145.338 kph) and – like in Monaco and on the Nürburgring - secured pole position.
For the Monaco and Nürburgring winner, a nail-biting wait then began. Bleekemolen had used both sets of tyres permitted for the weekend and could only watch from the pit wall while his rivals hunted for a better time.
Ten minutes later, the points leader Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) rolled out of the pit lane, warmed up his tyres and attacked Bleekemolen’s time, missing out narrowly by just five-hundredths of a second. Damien Faulkner (Ireland), currently sitting second in the championship, also went for the Dutchman’s time but in vain.
With a gap of almost two-tenths of a second Faulkner takes up the 16-lap race on Sunday from third on the grid. Lining up alongside the Irishman on the second row is Jiri Janak - the best qualifying result for the Czech in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup. Both Faulkner and Janak compete for the first time on the Hungaroring. Christian Menzel (Germany) and David Saelens (Belgium) share row three.
The 17 quickest drivers undercut Patrick Huisman’s pole-setting time from last year. Richard Westbrook explains the considerable improvement in times. “The corner leading onto the finish straight has a new surface. We can take it much faster now and enter the long finish straight at higher speeds. That makes a huge difference.”