Bahrain International Circuit, scene of the opening two rounds of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East last November, welcomes the championship once again next weekend where rapid young prospect Al Faisal Al Zubair is determined to deliver his strongest showing yet.
As the undoubted class of the field in the GCC Rookie battle, where he holds a handsome 49 point advantage at the top of the standings, the 18-year-old from Oman also leads the way in the Silver Class where he is in a closer battle for the title, currently six points clear.
Ahead of the penultimate two races of the season at Sakhir on Friday, 10th March, and Saturday, 11th March, the first year Porsche competitor is also a superb fourth overall in the outright championship after yet another strong weekend last time out at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.
Bahrain was, of course, where Al Faisal made his maiden competitive outing in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, and closed-wheel racing as a whole, in the season-opening race meeting three months ago – and he starred from the outset.
Winning the GCC Rookie Class on his debut, the Muscat teenager was also runner-up in the Silver Class and went on to take second position in the Rookie battle and fourth in Silver in round two with some very strong racecraft.
Laying tremendous foundations for the subsequent rounds, since that time Al Faisal has scorched to a total of six GCC Rookie wins, three Silver Class victories and a memorable outright podium finish, second overall, in round five at Dubai Autodrome.
“The season has gone even better than we could have imagined at the beginning, but with every event I’m setting my own sights and personal goals even higher”, said Al Faisal, “The focus continues to be the GCC Rookie Class and Silver Class, and it’s fantastic to be leading both championships with only two race weekends to go.
“I’m determined to climb back onto the overall podium, though, and with Bahrain a circuit we’ve already raced at I’m feeling very confident of some good results on our return there. Qualifying will be a big part of the weekend, if we can get that right I think I have a great chance to fight for my best results of the season so far. Hopefully it can be our best weekend yet in Porsche.”
Rounds nine and 10 could be absolutely pivotal, not least in the GCC Rookie battle where Al Faisal has a theoretical chance to claim the title with one event to spare. Notably, Bahrain will be the venue for the grand finale too in mid-April, where the Porsche series will enjoy its most high profile race meeting of the season – a support slot to the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Returning to next weekend’s action, round nine will take place on Friday, 10th March, with round 10 scheduled for Saturday, 11th March.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East GCC Rookie Standings (after Rd8):
1st Al Faisal Al Zubair, 131pts
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Silver Class Standings (after Rd8):
1st Al Faisal Al Zubair, 131pts
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Overall Standings (after Rd8):
4th Al Faisal Al Zubair, 131pts
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Mumtaz Albalushi