SAKHIR (BAHRAIN): Al-Faisal Al-Zubair faces the most important racing weekend of his burgeoning career, when he looks to confirm a first ever Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East title at the final two races in Bahrain this weekend (April 6-8).
What would make it that much extra special for the Omani is that the two races at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit are taking place as part of the supporting bill for the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
While Al-Zubair chases one fifth-place finish or higher that he needs to overhaul British rival Tom Oliphant and see of a threat from Charlie Frijns to lift the title, fellow Omani Khalid Al-Wahaibi will be aiming to celebrate his first season in the series with the Rookie Championship and a top finish in the Silver category.
Al-Wahaibi currently trails Sweden’s Magnus Oehman by just 11 points heading into their showdown at Sakhir and heads Saul Hack by a similar margin in the Rookie series.
Al-Zubair said: “We have obviously prepared for this weekend like every other race weekend and we are aiming to win both the races. That is the goal. For me, the first race, a win would give me the championship, but I need to play it a bit safer than usual.
“Obviously I would rather win the championship than have a win in the race. There will be a lot less pressure for the second race if we can secure the title in the first one. I hope to top all the sessions from practice to race two! I need to finish fifth or above in race one to win the championship, even if I DNF in the second one.”
“I am looking forward to the last round of the championship, “ added Al-Wahaibi. “As usual, the goal is to keep going and improve on what he have done at the previous rounds. I was not so happy with my performance at the last races in Bahrain so, hopefully, this time we can go out there and make it better. Looking forward to being on the track at the same time as the Formula 1 for the first time. I have heard from my friend Al-Faisal what a difference that makes.
“It is very close in the Silver Championship. If I could win that I would be extremely happy. I also want to win the Rookie Championship to continue my journey and what we have achieved so far at the other five rounds.
“I am also looking forward to, hopefully, seeing Al-Faisal securing his overall championship. If we are able to go away with Gold, Silver, GCC and Rookie as two Omanis in the championship, that would be extremely good for the both of us and also for the country of Oman, who we represent in our competitions.”
Racing takes place in conjunction with a hectic Formula 1 programme and features free practice, qualifying sessions and two crucial Porsche races on April 6-8.