PME Al-Zubair claims Dubai race one victory to lead Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East series
PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE MIDDLE EAST
Rounds 3-4 – Dubai Autodrome, December 7th-9th, 2017
For immediate release
Saturday, December 9th, 2017
AL-ZUBAIR CLAIMS DUBAI RACE ONE VICTORY TO LEAD
PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE MIDDLE EAST SERIES
· Fellow Omani Al-Wahaibi in eighth place and top bronze and rookie driver
· Omani duo of Al-Zubair and Al-Wahaibi qualify in pole and eighth positions
DUBAI (UAE): Al-Faisal Al-Zubair and rookie Khalid Al-Wahaibi enjoyed sensational performances in the first of two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East races at the Dubai Autodrome.
Al-Zubair of the Lechner Racing Middle East team qualified on pole position and claimed his first outright victory of the season to lead the championship. Al-Wahaibi finished eighth overall, top rookie and won the bronze category to cap a superb start to the weekend for the Sultanate of Oman.
“First qualifying was really good and I got pole by almost four-tenths (of a second),” said a delighted Al-Zubair. “We knew we had the pace and it was good to start in the best position. We had to make it count. My start was not so good and Charlie (Frijns) got passed me. But I knew, with new tyres, I had to overtake him on the first lap and I did and then (Tom) Oliphant was behind me.
“I opened the gap early on and got consistent timings, lap-after-lap. I am very happy with that. Qualifying for the second race will be a bit more difficult. I am using used tyres and the others will be using new, but a top three position is the target and a second win.”
Al-Wahaibi said: “I had a decent start on my first visit to the track. I ended free practice in P5, which showed great promise and an improvement from the first round in Bahrain. In qualifying, I had a mistake on my fastest lap and ended up in P8, when P5 would have been an ideal position.
“I started the race in P8 and had a decent start. I managed to fend off a few challenges from behind and stuck in and fought for my position. I kept pushing and caught the three silver drivers in front of me. However, I made a few mistakes and struggled with the tyres towards the end of the race. We learn from this and move forward.”
Oliphant finished as runner-up to Al-Zubair and Germany’s Wolfgang Triller rounded off the podium positions, with Frijns down in fourth place and Sweden’s Magnus Oehman winning the silver category in fifth.
Qualifying and practice
Al-Zubair made a clear statement of his intent by claiming pole position for the opening race with a winning lap of 1min 59.720sec. He ran for five laps in the session and the lap that counted was 0.357sec quicker than Dutchman Charlie Frijns. Rival Oliphant lined up in third place and Germany’s Wolfgang Triller was fourth and Al-Wahaibi led the rookies on to the grid in eighth place.
Al-Zubair topped the times in the opening practice session on Thursday with a best lap of 2min 44.2401sec, the Omani pipping Oliphant by 1.248 seconds. Al-Wahaibi was an impressive seventh.
The Porsche Mobil 1 Super Cup driver continued his impressive form through the subsequent practice session to top the times with a 1min 59.653sec tour and was in confident mood heading to the qualifying session. Al-Wahaibi was also in a rich vein of form and the rookie improved to sixth place with a best lap of 2min 01.378sec.
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