Omani racer Al Faisal Al Zubair produced the drive of his career in front of the great and the good of Formula One during the penultimate round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East in Bahrain on Saturday, 15th April, to take an absolutely sensational first outright victory in his debut season.
Racing as part of the high-profile Formula One weekend in Sakhir, the Porsche driver from Muscat delivered an absolute masterclass in round 11 of the season with a faultless performance to convert a richly deserved maiden overall pole position into a fabulous win.
Leading home Charlie Frijns by 0.7 seconds, Al Faisal’s impressive showing under pressure from his more experienced rival ensured a clean sweep of victories with the Omani also taking the Silver Class and GCC Rookie class wins too.
Importantly, the 19-year-old goes into this afternoon’s final race of the campaign – which takes place immediately before the Bahrain Grand Prix – with the Silver category title pendulum having swung in his favour thanks to his fifth class success of the season.
“Winning my first race is such an incredible feeling, I’m so happy”, said the elated Muscat teenager after his headline-grabbing performance, “Taking my first overall podium was amazing, but to now climb to the top step of the main podium is an unbelievable feeling.
“I’m really happy with my performances this weekend, to qualify on pole was the perfect start but to win, and especially here at Bahrain with the F1, is a dream come true. I’ve been getting quicker and quicker all season, I knew we had the pace to challenge and now we’ve proved it with this win.”
Right from the outset in practice on Friday, Al Faisal was in tremendous form and led the way with the quickest time of all before producing a career-best performance in qualifying to scorch to his first ever outright pole position, as well as the Silver Class and GCC Rookie Class poles.
With anticipation building for the opening contest, Al Faisal remained perfectly calm and composed and made an excellent start to lead. From that point on he didn’t look back, despite pressure from Frijns, on his way to a stunning victory at the end of 10 laps of the Sakhir track.
All attention now turns to the final race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East season later on today, beginning at 15.30 (local time) where Al Faisal will be aiming to end a truly glorious season with Silver class title success. Opening up a seven point lead in the Silver standings after his round 11 win, Al Faisal has also moved up into the overall top five in the main championship.
Source, Marc Orme/Photo. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East