Oman’s Al Zubair con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate

Oman Daily Observer - - SPORT -

MUS­CAT: Reign­ing cham­pion Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman proved why he is the next big ex­port from the Mid­dle East into in­ter­na­tional mo­tor­sport to­day, by top­ping an­other podium in the Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Chal­lenge Mid­dle East Sea­son 10.

Qual­i­fy­ing in pole, Al Zubair con­ceded four po­si­tions in turn one to Isa A. Al Khal­ifa of Team Bahrain and Berkay Besler of Tur­key due to a poor start. The young Omani re­mained com­posed in the first two laps to re­gain his lead back be­fore clock­ing con­tin­u­ous quick laps. He pulled away and com­pleted his race un­trou­bled to the de­light of fans and his fam­ily. Al Zubair stepped on to the top spot of the podium with sec­ond place lo­cal Isa A. Al Khal­ifa and de Que­sada of the United States of Amer­ica third.

Speak­ing af­ter Race 1 of Round 2 at Bahrain In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit, Al Zubair said: “My start was very bad. I went down to fourth in the first turn, so I knew I had to re­ally push hard until I re­gained the lead. I then cre­ated a gap be­tween my­self and Isa A. Al Khal­ifa, be­fore work­ing on main­tain­ing it until the end. It was a great race and I am very happy with how it ended. I en­joyed how things hap­pened and now look for­ward to to­mor­row’s two races.”

The race de­liv­ered the edge of your seat ac­tion now ex­pected from the re­gion’s longest rac­ing mo­tor­ing se­ries. Be­hind Al Zubair, po­si­tions were not safe as one-on-one du­als broke out across the track. Lo­cal Isa A. Al Khal­ifa of Team Bahrain, Besler Berkay of Tur­key, Amer­i­can Michael de Que­sada, French­man Jean-bap­tiste Sim­me­nauer, South African Saul Hack, Khal­ida al Wa­haibi of Oman and Leon Koehler of Ger­many all locked in a fierce bat­tle through­out.

Al Khal­ifa showed his knowl­edge of the track to take sec­ond, with de Que­sada push­ing for third. Hack’s per­sis­tence saw him fin­ish fourth from a sixth-place start, leav­ing Sim­me­nauer fifth and Berkay Besler in sixth. Al Wa­haibi and Koehler both fell vic­tim to the bat­tle, drop­ping to the back at the grid early in the race, but Koehler fought back an in­cred­i­ble nine places to show he’s a new­comer to watch. Wa­haibi tried to bat­tle on but, hav­ing spent some time in the gravel, he ended his race in the pits. Fin­ish­ing sec­ond, home grown tal­ent Isa A. Al Khal­ifa com­mented af­ter the race: “It was a full ac­tion race. Af­ter the first cor­ner, I looked into my rearview mir­ror and saw ev­ery­one be­hind me bat­tling into the first turn. I aimed to keep my po­si­tion by stay­ing con­sis­tent. I made a few mis­takes but man­aged to fin­ish sec­ond. There were so many bat­tles dur­ing the race which made it more ex­cit­ing for me. Over­all, I am very happy with the re­sult — it was a good day for me.”

Round 2 con­tin­ues at Bahrain In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit to­mor­row with a fur­ther two races fea­tur­ing 17 driv­ers from 13 coun­tries. The Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Chal­lenge Mid­dle East is now in its land­mark tenth sea­son, mak­ing it the first and longest re­gional cham­pi­onship backed by a man­u­fac­turer in the Mid­dle East. Proud to con­tinue nur­tur­ing home­grown 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.

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