Stormy Sepang Serves Up Saleen 1-2-3 in Qualifying

Antonio Reyna-Sanchez took a shock pole position in a wet qualifying session for the GT Super Series Round of Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit.

In the first pole position for an Independent since the Onyx Saleen of Wakana Morioka at the 2016 Super GP, Antonio Reyna-Sanchez and the two other Saleen S7-Rs made the most of the treacherous weather conditions and rose to the occasion to put in the three fastest times of the session. After John Magnus and then Li Qi put in the provisionally quickest times on their first laps, Reyna-Sanchez and series debutante Ai Tsukimura put up the first and second quickest times respectively; they would hold for the rest of the session with Qi failing to improve on a second attempt on fresh wet tires.

James Douglas in the other Tom Douglas Saleen would take advantage of Qi failing to improve, putting in the third quickest time of the session on his final lap as the chequered flag was waving to close the session. The Falken-shod Aston would be bumped to fourth in their best qualifying performance of the season, and the Carson Corvette being bumped down to fifth. A further four tenths behind the Chinese driver was overall winner in Belgium Matteo Rossi, failing to capitalize on trailing close behind the pole sitter late in the session to improve his own time.

The first of the Drivers Championship contenders starts ninth with Evgeny Restov being 1.7 seconds behind the time set by Reyna-Sanchez in his Pirelli-shod Ferrari 550. Five positions and sixth tenths behind the Russian on the timesheets is championship leader Chris Winter in his Solvalou Lamborghini,  struggling with the conditions and lapped traffic to put in a representative time. Struggling with their Pirelli tires was the third championship protagonist in Fabian Rei, who qualified twenty-first for the race on Sunday more than three seconds off the ultimate pace in the rain. Rei’s teammate, Paul Travesen, would be another half a second off the pace and will start twenty-fourth. Independent’s Trophy leader Valeri Kozar sees his car start on the grid twentieth with Finn Markus Jacobson returning to Starting Driver duties for Malaysia and China.

Qualifying Results – Round of Malaysia

1555IAntonio Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas2:05.180
218IAi TsukimuraTsuchigami+0.337
355IJames DouglasTom Douglas+0.481
4007MJohn MagnusFalken+0.605
564MLi QiCarson+0.628
66MMatteo RossiGulf+1.082
721IGia Van DyckeBelgio+1.154
805IAndrej KremnickyAoi+1.596
928MEvgeny RestovScuderia Italia+1.700
1088IHarrison WilkinsonLKM+1.736
1103MMorgan Le FaySolvalou+1.813
1263MJoey AlliotCarson+2.265
1311IKoyomi SetouBest In The World+2.286
1402MChris WinterSolvalou+2.304
1509IAlexi MelvanovChris Short+2.703
1677INathan ScottMinarae+2.806
1725MAnton RobishaudPagani+3.003
1824MAmato AgostiniPagani+3.072
1927MDenis van WalwijkScuderia Italia+3.105
2056IMarkus JacobsonCommonwealth+3.191
2114MFabian ReiGerald Pereria+3.229
2299IDaniel EinfeldtPeople's Republic+3.530
2345IHelena BertinelliEuromotor+3.831
2441MPaul TravesenGerald Pereria+3.856
253IMelanie BourneBoutsen Ginion+3.943
2666IYuya KurosawaToshio+3.999
2757IIto ShideharaCommonwealth+4.298
282IAkinori KikkawaBoutsen Ginion+4.720
2931ISam WintonWinton+5.125
3044IDiego VercuisseEuromotor+5.363