Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East : Back-to-back wins for Al Faisal, Khalid claims first pole in series
Oman's talented racer Al Faisal al Zubair began the new year in style as he raced to back-to-back wins in the Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Dubai Autodrome on Friday and Saturday. However, Al Faisal slipped out of the podium for the first time in the series in the last of the three races on Saturday afternoon as he came fourth.
Oman's other racer, Khalid al Wahaibi, also came up with some good pace to narrowly miss out on podium on Friday and fifth on Saturday morning. In the ninth race, held on Saturday afternoon, Khalid came eighth.
At the halfway stage of the season, with nine of the 16 race season complete, Al Faisal continues to extend his lead (217 points) and is now 41 points clear in the overall standings ahead of Berkay Besler of Turkey in second (176) and Michael de Quesada of the US behind him in third (164). Race three winner on Saturday, Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer of France, is fourth with 142 and Khalid is close behind with 140.
On Friday, Al Faisal moved up from third on the grid to win the first of three races.
The Omani, who drives for Walter Lechner Racing in both the regional series and the prestigious Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup, found a way passed pole sitter Saul Hack and Leon Koehler to claim a sixth win from seven race starts.
Besler came home in second place in the 16-lap race and Simmenauer rounded off the podium finishers.
Fresh from securing a first career pole position behind the wheel of a Porsche for race two on Saturday, fellow Omani Khalid al Wahaibi finished the opening race in fourth, having qualified in sixth.
Al Faisal qualified for the opener in third with a best run of 1min 3.064sec and Khalid was sixth of the 16 entrants and second of the GCC racers.
Khalid delivered the goods in Q2 to claim his first career Porsche pole, with Al Faisal making it an Oman 1-2 and Simmenauer rounding off the podium positions.
In the Q3 held on Saturday morning, Al Faisal was fourth while Khalid came eighth.
Germany's Leon Koehler topped the qualifying followed by Besler and Jesse van Kuijk.