Organiser of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East series calls for ‘cool heads’ as championship enters critical stage

Organiser of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East series calls for ‘cool heads’ as championship enters critical stage

This weekend the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East returns to the Bahrain International Circuit for the penultimate round of Season 8 with the championship’s manager calling for drivers to stay cool and calm behind the wheel. 

Over four dramatic rounds of world-class racing Walter Lechner, the series organiser and motorsport legend, has witnessed the pressure grow with every race as the chance to seize silverware comes closer to the grasp of several drivers.      

Only two rounds remain and the stakes are higher than ever in what has been without doubt the most competitive season in the championship’s long and prestigious history. A bigger and more international grid has resulted in every category in the drivers standings staying wide open with a small number of points separating those holding the top positions.

Speaking ahead of Round 5 in Bahrain Omani driver Al Faisal Al Zubair said: “Season 8 so far has been an incredible experience and I’m not finished yet! I’ve worked hard in each and every race to get myself in a strong position in the championship standings ahead of the final two rounds, and I’m not prepared to let the hard work go to waste. A top three finish in my debut season in the championship would be a dream come true. I will be giving everything I have in the next four races to finish in the highest position possible!” 

In the race for the overall driver’s title the consistency of Ryan Cullen (188 pts) has seen the Irishman open up a gap of 23 points over second placed Charlie Frijns (168 pts) of Qatar and Britain’s Tom Oliphant (152 pts) third a further 16 points further back. 

Series Manager Walter Lechner added: “This season has been one of the very best with new rivalries and fierce competition stretching throughout the grid. So it’s simply impossible to predict who will be on the podium at the end of each race. It’s been a joy to watch.

“Already eight different drivers have graced the top three steps of the podium in the overall race. Drivers from eight different nations with different levels of experience all bidding for glory. It’s exactly what drivers and fans want. It’s what I want to see but with the margins between winning and losing so small there is a fine line between brilliant driving and simply taking too many risks. It’s my responsibility to ensure drivers know where that line is and they stay on the right side of it.”    

In the final four races, 100 points can be won and less than 60 points separate the top four drivers in the overall championship. 30 points split the top three drivers in the silver category, and a mere 22 points lie between the top three drivers in the bronze category. 

Remarkably five of the top ten drivers in the overall standings are making their Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East debut. Five of those newcomers are aged twenty-five years or younger, demonstrating that the power of the platform’s formula to help young careers in motorsport progress is clearly working. 

Lechner further commented: “We’re entering a critical stage and who knows if experience, talent, or hunger will prevail. I’m intrigued to find out. But when it’s this close on the track and rivals not willing to leave gaps between themselves then I need to ensure that driver safety and wellbeing prevails above all else.

“It is great to see such determination and fight amongst all the drivers on the grid this season. However we want to see drivers competing safely no matter how much they want to win. I will be hoping that the message is well received amongst all drivers especially the young and inexperienced racers. Then we can look forward to an exciting but safe climax to the season.”

On 10th and 11th March, Round 5 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East will head back to the Bahrain International Circuit as the drivers prepare for the penultimate round of this season 8 championship blockbuster.

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