BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East: Al Faisal manages podium finish in Abu Dhabi opener

February 03, 2019

Al Faisal al Zubair's outstanding season continues in the 2018-19 Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Series as the 20 year old Omani racer picked up his ninth podium spot in ten races at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Friday.

Ahead of the race on Friday, Al Faisal had won seven of the nine races and had finished only one race outside the podium.

On Friday, after qualifying second, Al Faisal managed to come third in a hard-fought race that saw the return of experienced Dylan Pereira of Luxembourg, who won the race. Turkey's Berkay Besler came second despite starting behind Al Faisal.

The result maintained the Walter Lechner Racing star’s lead at the top of the drivers’ standings with 238 points though Besler  reduced Al Faisal's lead to 39 points.

Al Faisal's teammate, Khalid al Wahaibi, who qualified in seventh delivered another impressive display to climb to fifth at the chequered flag behind fourth-placed Frenchman

Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer. The performance enabled Khalid to close in to within two points of Simmenauer’s fourth place in the overall standings.

Al Faisal said, “I made a bad start and he (Berkay) passed me. It just felt like I could not keep up in a few turns, so now I must come back strong and go for the win in the second race.”

Khalid said, “It was a massive improvement for me from Dubai, where we really struggled with the race pace. We were quick towards the end. We need to qualify better for the second race. I am pretty happy to finish fifth.

Earlier, Pereira edged out Al Faisal out of pole position with a best lap of 2min 11.023sec. Al Faisal was a mere 0.38 seconds while Besler qualified in third. Khalid settled into seventh on the starting grid with a best run of 2min 12.623sec.