Al Faisal looks to extend lead in Bahrain

SAKHIR, Bahrain: Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair heads to the second round of the Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East eager to defend a slender two-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain this weekend. The Omani is defending his regional title and opened his 2018-2019 account with two races wins and a second place at the first race meeting in Dubai last month. Those early successes have given the Lechner Team Middle East driver a two-point advantage over closest rival Tio Ellinas. Fellow Omani Khalid al Wahaibi holds fifth place in the title race behind Al Zubair, Ellinas, third-placed American Michel de Quesada and Turkey’s Berkay Besler.

Khalid al Wahaibi

Al Wahaibi’s consistent finishes in Dubai, coupled with Al Zubair’s successes, have earned Team Oman a massive 63-point lead over Team Sweden in the Team Championship with the hosting Team Bahrain in third place. Al Zubair said: “I am very excited to come to the second round of the championship in Bahrain. This is a track and a country I love. The plan is to get as many wins as possible. I know it will not be easy. But I am ready for the challenge and looking forward to getting going.

“I will not be able to do two days of testing because I have a presentation, so I will not arrive in Bahrain until Thursday morning ready for one test day.” Khaled al Wahaibi added: “I am looking forward to the races in Bahrain. I thought the round in Dubai was decent and I collected some good championship points. I want to keep on improving. We struggled in the first two races in Dubai but the third one was more representative.

“Starting from tomorrow (Wednesday), we need to get focused and use every session we can to improve and keep getting faster. Once the real thing starts on Friday, hopefully we will be up there fighting for the overall podium. I have not been on the overall podium yet. This is my second season and the best result last year was a fourth. I have already matched that at the first round, so that is a great sign,” the upcoming Omani racer said.

The second round of the Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Sakhir circuit gets under way with test sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Qualifying takes centre stage from 09.55hrs on Friday morning and the first of the weekend’s three races gets under way at 12.30hrs.
Qualifying for the second and third races starts at 11.55hrs on Saturday morning and the remaining two 14-lap races get the green light at 15.00hrs and 17.00hrs, respectively.