After free practice and three rounds of testing, winner of Season 9, Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman, is still displaying the quickest times with a best-on-the-day of 2:02.802, showing the grid why he’s the current championship leader as the only driver under 2:03. South Africa’s Saul Hack clocked an impressive 2:03.155 followed by Team Bahrain’s own Isa A. Al Khalifa with 2:03.387.
Round 1 saw drivers undertake three races over the weekend at Dubai Autodrome, as part of the new championship format which now sees 16 races over six weekends. Al Zubair took to the new set up with the hunger and passion witnessed by regional and international motorsport fans in Season 9, but with some competition in the form of current Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Tio Ellinas of Cyprus. Al Zubair leads by only 2pts, but with Ellinas not set to race in Round 2, it presents the young Omani the opportunity to extend his lead considerably.
Speaking after testing, Al Zubair said: “Practice at Bahrain International Circuit has gone very well. All three sessions were very positive – I am happy with the results. I feel that I am still missing something to be in top form before the three races on Friday and Saturday, so I am looking forward to qualifying tomorrow. As usual, my goal is to finish qualifying in pole.”
Clocking the second quickest time in testing, Saul Hack of South Africa returns for his second season in Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. Showing impressive development over the past year, Hack finished the sessions with impressive lap times overall.
Reflecting on Round 2 testing, Hack commented: “It’s been quite productive. I have had two good long days on track this week. Yesterday was very positive and I managed to lead the way for some, which is a first this season. I have Al Zubair in my sights as a benchmark, trying to get as close to him as I can. I am looking forward to tomorrow to see how I can keep this momentum I’ve created in Bahrain and channel it into qualifying.”
Ahead of an action-packed second race weekend of the longest running motorsport series in the Middle East, fans will be especially delighted to see the line-up proudly feature home-grown favourites Isa A. Al Khalifa and Ali Al Khalifa of Team Bahrain, alongside an additional 15 drivers from 13 different nations.
The Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East was the first regional championship backed by a manufacturer in the Middle East and is proud to continue nurturing home-grown motorsport talent from the region. It gives drivers access to the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, the same model used for international motorsport editions, such as the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the official F1 support race.