World renowned FIA Formula One World Championship venue Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi will host the start of the second half of the all-action Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East this coming weekend, where Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair will undoubtedly be one to watch.
Rounds seven and eight of the 2016/2017 season will take place on Friday, 10th February, and Saturday, 11th February, respectively and 18-year-old Al Faisal will be aiming to again challenge for outright podium finishes as well as victories in the GCC Rookie Class and Silver Class.
Going into the fourth race meeting of his maiden season in the championship atop both class points tables, the Muscat driver is also a highly creditable fifth in the overall standings and only a mere four points shy of the top four, just 13 points outside the coveted top three.
It has certainly been a tremendous first season in Porsche racing for Al Faisal, who last year raced in the BRDC British Formula 3 single-seater category in the UK. Adapting to the different requirements of sportscar racing seamlessly, the highly regarded Arab talent is undoubtedly turning heads.
“I’m very happy with how the first half of the season has gone, I couldn’t have expected much more really from my first few races in the Porsche”, said Al Faisal, “We did have one or two disappointing results but, overall, I am pleased with everything achieved so far and I’ve learnt a huge amount.”
From the outset, Al Faisal has pretty much been the pace-setter in both the GCC Rookie Class and the Silver Class despite his limited experience in this style of racing. Improving with every outing, he is a realistic contender for yet more silverware in Abu Dhabi.
During the second and third events, back-to-back visits to Dubai in December and January, Al Faisal really started to make his presence felt among the higher graded ‘Gold’ drivers by achieving his first outright podium in round three and then bettering that result with second position in round five.
While fully respectful of the pace and ability of his fellow championship front-runners, the Omani is confident he has the speed to challenge for his maiden outright victory and sees the start of the second half of the season as the perfect opportunity to try and make that possible.
“I’m confident I have the speed to challenge for more overall podiums and, maybe, to even fight for my first win before the end of the season”, he added, “My main focus for Abu Dhabi is to continue to improve my qualifying performance to then give me the best opportunity to try and win. Hopefully this weekend will be another where I can finish strongly in both races and score good points.”
Round seven of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Yas Marina Circuit is scheduled to take place at 18.00 (local time) on Friday, 10th February, with round eight following at 15.15 (local time) on Saturday, 11th February.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East GCC Rookie Standings (after Rd6):
1st Al Faisal Al Zubair, 99pts
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Silver Class Standings (after Rd6):
1st Al Faisal Al Zubair, 99pts
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Overall Standings (after Rd6):
5th Al Faisal Al Zubair, 99pts
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East