Home favourite AlFaisal finishes second in Round 7 of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Reem International Circuit
Saudi Falcons Abdulaziz AlFaisal heads into Round 8 on top of the championship standings after finishing second in Round 7 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Reem International Circuit after another head-to-head battle with winner Clemens Schmid.
After starting fourth on the 15-car grid, AlFaisal, driving on home soil and in-front of his father Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, could not dislodge Schmid from first place despite coming from fourth to second in the sixth of 17-lap 3.2KM Reem International Circuit. It was a great day for Saudi Falcons with Faisal Binladen claiming his first podium finish of the season, by claiming third place, despite starting second on the grid.
The result means Schmid has narrowed the gap in the overall driver standings to just ten points. AlFaisal remains the current leader of the championship with 163 points, Schmid in second on 153 points and Al-Azhari in third on 132 points after seven rounds of the region’s most exciting race series.
The start of the Reem Rounds started in stunning fashion in qualifying when the big guns were overpowered by the new generation. While Schmid was in familiar territory, Faisal Binladen produced his fastest laps of the season to start second on the grid, while teenager Fahad Algosaibi, in his one-off race weekend, defied the pecking order to start third on the grid. Reigning champion Abdulaziz AlFaisal was pushed down to fourth.
After fighting his way back into contention and the battle for first, AlFaisal in front of his adoring fans to secure second place, reigning champion AlFaisal said: “I believe I drove a good race, and am happy where I finished in the end. I knew once I overtook Faisal I could put pressure on Clemens and I had an opportunity in the middle of the race to overtake him but made a small mistake which cost me first place. But I will be back tomorrow and ensure I don’t make the same mistakes I made today.”
Amidst the sandy dunes local favourite Faisal BinLaden was more than content to have gained a podium place. He said: ““This is a victory for the team as it puts pressure on Al Nabooda in the team title category and it means I am top of the Silver Michelin category. I am feeling great with my performance today, everything was perfect for me and I hope I can replicate it all in Round 8.”
With the top-three almost sorting themselves out, the battle to complete the top six was just as pulsating. Fahad Algosaibi, unsettled the order of play by producing a stunning performance to finish fourth, while Team Bahrain’s Raed Raffii claimed some valuable points in fifth and Karim Al-Azhari for six on a disappointing day the UAE’s Al Nabooda driver.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East championship standings after Round 7 are: 1st Abdulaziz AlFaisal (163 points, 2nd Clemens Schmid (153 points), 3rd Karim Al-Azhari (132 points).
The 2nd and 3rd place finishes for the Saudi Falcons duo has added pressure on Al Nabooda in the fight for the team title. The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Team Standings after Round 7 are: 1st Al Nabooda (285 points) 2nd Saudi Falcons (269 points), 3rd Team Bahrain (233 points).
Season 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East continues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with Round 8 scheduled to take place at the Reem International Circuit on 7th February 2013 at 5pm KSA time.