Abu Dhabi: Pereira secures win and record lap time at Yas Marina Circuit in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East
Dylan Pereira gave an unforgettable performance at Yas Marina Circuit to take his first ever win in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. The Luxembourg driver who qualified on pole sprinted clear from a chasing grid to take Race 1 of Round 4 in a masterclass of speed and control for a first win of the season and his young career.
On the first of two race days this weekend at the UAE Capital’s famous circuit, Pereira set a blistering pace to qualify quickest. The impressive time of 2:10.893, was quicker than any other driver on the 18-car grid but also in the history of the championship, as he set the fastest lap ever recorded in a Porsche GT3 Cup Car at Yas Marina Circuit.
Pereira continued his quick form into Race 1, pulling away from the grid and leaving championship leader Tom Oliphant, who started in second, out of his reach early on. British driver Oliphant couldn’t keep up with Pereira’s form and ended where he started in a satisfactory second. Oliphant’s closest rival for the championship title Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman finishing in third.
Commenting on his breakthrough performance, Dylan Pereira said: “It feels great to win. I had a solid qualifying session followed by a great start in the race – I was able to record the fastest lap ever to be achieved at Yas Marina Circuit in Porsche GT3 Cup Car, which feels amazing. I pushed from the off and succeeded in creating a good gap while keeping my pace. Round 3 last weekend at the Dubai Autodrome was my way back to racing after a five-month break. Now, I am back, I feel better and will try to stay consistent and hopefully I can win more races including Race 2 here in Abu Dhabi.”
Al Zubair of Oman had a poor qualifying session due to a tyre issue, resulting in a third row start. By the first turn he was up to fourth, chasing down Frijns to take third in lap 9. Al Zubair then began his pursuit of Oliphant for valuable championship points. Unfortunately, there were not enough laps left for Al Zubair, who finished third and sees the gap between himself and Oliphant in the championship standings grow to 8 points.
Speaking at the end of the race, Al Zubair said: “It was a good race. I started in a bad position, but I was able to overtake two cars into turn one. I found myself right behind Charlie Frijns for most of the race. I kept getting quicker every lap and succeeded in overtaking him with three laps to go.
“It is too late for any regrets now as we have a race tomorrow and I will do best to improve and learn from today’s performance. In general, I am happy with how it went today, considering where I started the race, and know I can build on this tomorrow.”
Outside of the podium places, Charlie Frijns from The Netherlands finished in fourth ahead of Bahraini driver Isa S Al Khalifa in fifth and UAE-based driver Glynn Geddie in sixth.
The first race at Yas Marina Circuit saw 18 drivers race 12 laps of the iconic Formula 1 track configuration, hailing from 11 different countries including Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, France, Sweden alongside local stars from Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East races again on the 3rd February 2018, before returning to Bahrain International Circuit for the final two rounds. The series comes to a thrilling conclusion as an official support race for the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.