Clean sweep for Al Zubair as de Quesada stars in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

by Vince Pettit

Al Faisal Al Zubair dominated the Bahrain International Circuit’s ‘Speed Weekend’ as he took three wins in the Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East second race weekend of season 10.

The young Omani was on unstoppable form despite the added challenge of a new influx of international drivers, with his only mistake being that he lost the lead in to the first corner of the opening race, something that he would put right very quickly.

The first race saw the reigning champion win the race by five seconds, while in the second race he would cruise to an easy win with an eight second advantage by the chequered flag.

Race three would prove more challenging for Al Zubair as he was challenged by Berkay Besler, finishing the race with a gap of just 0.728 seconds.

“This has been the perfect weekend for me – three poles and three race wins!” said Zubair. “I enjoyed the last race a lot and it was a fantastic ending to a great weekend.”

Talking of the mounting pressure in the final race, the Omani showed his respect for his fellow competitors, “The race was more difficult than the first two of Round 2, but interesting and fun nonetheless. Michael and Berkay performed very well and this has made me even happier with my result.”

American driver Michael de Quesada headed up a host of international drivers in the series, including Besler of Turkey and Leon Koehler of Germany, Bahrain’s Isa A. Al Khalifa, Oman’s Khalid Al Wahaibi, South Africa’s Saul Hack and Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer.

“Race 3 was a hard-fought race and I felt like I came into it with really good momentum from Race 2.” said de Quesada. “Starting in second I was looking to challenge for the win, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

“I had a terrible start and Berkay was able to take advantage of one of my mistakes to get in front of me. From there on I fought hard, but it was difficult to come back” 

“It’s been a really good weekend of racing; I’m happy with my position overall. I’m pleased with how this weekend has gone. Between now and the next round I need to try and find a little more pace – I’m confident I can do that.”

Al Zubair leads the championship in to the short winter break with 148 points over de Quesada’s 119 points with Besler a further eight points behind.

The next round of the series will come in January at the Dubai Autodrome, followed by a visit to Yas Marina Circuit in February before the season finale at the 2019 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in March 2019.

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