Frenchman Nicolas Armindo surprised the established Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Hockenheim as the guest driver, who normally contests the German Carrera Cup, took pole for the seventh round of the season.
Armindo, driving for Al Faisal Lechner Racing on his Supercup bow put his 911 GT3 Cup fastest of all, with a lap time of 1:42.516 which put him 0.092 seconds ahead of championship chaser Nick Tandy in his own Konrad Motorsport entry.
“What a great way to start. My first Supercup outing this season and pole position – it doesn't get better than that,” exclaimed Armindo. “Thanks to my team! We found several things in free practice to improve on overnight. This qualifying was somewhat nerve-wracking. We're all extremely close. You can bet the race will be exciting.”
The Briton's title rival – the man who currently leads the championship after frequently dominating this season – Rene Rast will have to start the race from fourth on the grid, his best lap of 1.42.697 only one-thousandths of a second slower than German Christian Engelhart, another to put on a surprise performance on familiar tarmac, claiming his best ever Porsche Supercup start in the process.
“I'm very pleased – especially because my fastest lap was anything but brilliant,” Tandy said. “Normally, I should have been on pole. But the positive aspect is that I still have a fresh set of tyres for the race and with tomorrow forecast to be dry, this will certainly be to my advantage.”
“Obviously I want to win the race, but more importantly, I'd like to take a few points off RenÃ© Rast for the title. He's starting from fourth, but I'm sure he'll do his best to get ahead as quickly as possible. The fans can look forward to an interesting race.”
Regulars Jan Seyffarth and Jeroen Bleekemolen will start sixth and seventh.
Amongst the familiar names in the series the race on Porsche's home soil saw several established drivers behind the wheel of guest cars.
Pole-sitter Armindo aside it was another German Carrera Cup driver – and Porsche junior works driver – Martin Ragginger who claimed the next best starting slot of the guests, driving his Schnabl Engineering Team Parker Racing to tenth place in qualifying.
Further back one time DTM racer Mathias Lauda – son of Niki – will start Sunday's race from 17th, though his best time in the car entered by Porsche AG was scarcely seven-tenths slower than Armindo.
“Not even seven-tenths of a second from the quickest – that's not too bad for my first qualifying with the 911 GT3 Cup,” he concluded. “But that it was only good enough for 17th just shows how competitive the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup is. I'm looking forward to the race and hope to make up some positions over the distance – it won't be easy against the Supercup specialists.”