Porsche GT3: Thrilling close action at Yas Marina brings close fought wins for Al Faisal and Al Qubaisi
Yas Marina Circuit, Fri Apr 8th – Abu Dhabi’s Khaled Al Qubaisi scored his first victory in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Yas Marina Circuit, winning Race 2- Round 8 in great style to set up a dramatic grand finale to the series at Dubai Autodrome next weekend.
Starting in pole position for the second race in a matter of hours, Al Qubaisi again came under intense pressure from defending champion Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal who was out to repeat his Round 7 win earlier in the day.
But this time Al Qubaisi survived to grab the glory on his home track after the Saudi driver spun off on the seventh of 25 laps while trying to snatch the lead, eventually finishing in fifth position.
He had to work hard though to keep out Saudi’s Bandar Alesayi who finished second, with teenager Fahad Algosaibi grabbing third place, as he had in Round 7 earlier in the day.
In finishing fourth, Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa ended the day as he had begun it, holding a six point championship lead from Prince Abdulaziz, but with Al Qubaisi only four points further adrift. Musaed Al Murar, Al Qubaisi’s Abu Dhabi team mate, celebrated his 25th birthday by finishing sixth overall and winning the rookies’ class for the seventh time this season.
Race 1 -Round 7
Saudi Arabia’s defending champion, Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal, boosted his hopes of a successful title defence by winning Round 7.
Starting in third place after Abu Dhabi’s Khaled al Qubaisi had grabbed his first pole position in the 12-round series, Abdulaziz came through to win from championship leader, Sheikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, in the process cutting the Bahraini’s advantage to four points.
Saudi teenager Fahad Algosaibi took the third podium position while Al Qubaisi, who led for the first 11 of 25 laps, had to settle for fourth place.
Saudi Bandar Alesayi and Al Qubaisi’s team-mate, Musaed Al Murar, completed the top six, with the Abu Dhabi driver winning the rookies class for the sixth time this season.
After setting the fastest time in the morning qualifying session, Al Qubaisi had high hopes of a breakthrough victory in the Porsche GT3 Cup series, and he drove with a lot of composure in the opening stages.
But after slipping ahead of Algosaibi, Prince Abdulaziz gradually increased the pressure on Al Qubaisi and squeezed past him on lap 11 to take control.
Both Algosaibi and Sheikh Salman – who had started fifth on the grid – also moved past Al Qubaisi on the next lap, but while the Bahraini closed the gap on the Saudi in the dying stages of the race he was never able to get close enough to snatch victory.
“My strategy was to get in front of Fahad, put pressure on Khaled and try and force him into a mistake, and that’s what happened,” said Prince Abdulaziz at the finish. “It wasn’t easy, but this was exactly what I was looking for.”
Round 8 provisional results
1. Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE) tolimit Arabia 23:51.305
2. Bandar Alesayi (KSA) 23:51.502
3. Fahad Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 23:52.208
4. Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa (BAH) 23:53.974
5. Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA) Al Faisal Racing Team 23:55.251
6. Musaed Al Murar (UAE) tolimit arabia 24:00.015
7. Ibrahim Salloum (UAE) Abu Dhabi Falcon Racing 24:25.409
8. Johannes Waimer (GER) 24:49.005
9. Fawaz Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 24:49.453
10. Alain Muraour (F) 24 laps
Championship positions after eight rounds
1. Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa (BAH) 142pts
2. Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA) Al Faisal Racing Team 136pts
3. Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE) tolimit Arabia 132pts
4. Fahad Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 117pts
5. Bandar Alesayi (KSA) 110pts
6. Musaed Al Murar (UAE) tolimit arabia 77pts
7. Ibrahim Salloum (UAE) Abu Dhabi Falcon Racing 67pts
8. Johannes Waimer (GER) 53pts
9. Fawaz Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 41pts
10. Alain Muraour (F) 37pts
Mobil 1 Trophy (Over 45s)
1. Johannes Waimer (GER) 150pts
2. Alain Muraour (F) 126pts
3. Fawaz Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 110pts