Al Zubair collects eighth race win in pursuit of the Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 10 title
Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair added another race win to his Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 10 title campaign, after taking the top spot in Race 2 of Round 4 in Abu Dhabi.
Al Zubair, who finished the race in second, was gifted the win due to a five second time penalty placed on Dylan Pereira for shortcutting turn 18. Pereira of Luxembourg qualified in pole with a quick 2:11.176. Having won Race 1 on Friday, the record holder for the fastest lap ever recorded in a Porsche GT3 Cup car at Yas Marina Circuit back in 2018, Pereira looked poised to take the double win.
Current championship leader Al Zubair started second on the grid, with Berkay Besler of Turkey in third and Leon Koehler of Germany in fourth, the exact same line-up as Race 1 of the weekend. Al Zubair this time had a better start and was pushing Pereira mid-race and was on the verge of manoeuvring past him.
Pereira managed to find some pace in the final laps to create a 3.566 second lead on Al Zubair, but it was not enough to cushion the blow of a five second penalty given to the Luxembourg driver. Pereira saw his race result amended from first to third place, as Berkay Besler who ended in third did just enough to finish 4.924 behind him.
Defending champion Al Zubair commented on his win: “I’m obviously very happy to finish first. I thought I was second until just a few moments ago when I found out Dylan had a five second penalty for cutting a corner. He raced a really good race and was very fast. I felt like I was quick going into turns one and two, but Dylan would pull away through turn three. I’m happy with how this weekend has gone; P3 in race one and a win today. Now my focus turns to Round 5 in Bahrain.”
After collecting his third-place trophy, Pereira said: “To be honest it could have been a better day for me. At the start of practice my drive shaft broke, so I wasn’t able to do a full session which made it difficult to get into qualifying having just one lap. I fortunately managed to do quite well to get P1.
“I had a good start in the race and managed to stay in front throughout, even though Al Zubair was very quick and put a lot of pressure on in the middle of the race. I finished in first, three seconds ahead, but when I reached the podium I was told there was a five second penalty for cutting turn 18. This pushed me back to third, which is disappointing, but this is racing and I’ll bounce back.”
Outside of the podium places, German Leon Koehler finished in fourth ahead of Frenchman JB Simmenauer in fifth and Saul Hack of South Africa in sixth.
The region’s longest running racing series will now head to Bahrain International Circuit for the remaining two rounds. The Porsche BWT GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East races again 8th & 9th March 2019 in Round 5. The series comes to a thrilling conclusion as an official support race for the 2019 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, the only regional racing series to do so.