Tuesday, 22 May 2018 09:09 GMT

Oman- Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East Challenge Series: Khalid clinches Silver and Rookie category honours

(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) It was a bittersweet day for the Oman racing duo of Al Faisal al Zubair and Khalid al Wahaibi at the Formula One Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday.

Competing in the eighth round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East Challenge Series, debutant Khalid came up with a sizzling run to claim his season-best fourth overall place and capped it with the top honours in the Silver and Rookie categories.

However, the celebrations in the Oman camp were dampened when title contender Al Faisal al Zubair met with a collision on the second turn in the 12-lap race and spun out to start at the back of the field in the 18-grid race.

A spirited performance from Al Faisal exhibited his fighting traits as he went past drivers lap by lap to show the best of his racing skills to finish seventh.

Khalid al Wahaibi in action during the eighth round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East on Saturday

Adding to Al Faisal's disappointment was the dent to his chances of winning the championship title as eighth round winner and overall leader, Tom Oliphant of Great Britain, extended his lead at the top to 19 from Al Faisal with just four rounds remaining in the series.

Dylan Pereira of Luxembourg came second and the Netherlands' Charlie Frijns, who was involved in the collision with Al Faisal, was third.

If it was disappointment for Al Faisal, it was joy for 17 year old Khalid, who highlighted his undoubted talent with a win in the Silver and Rookie categories and a career-best fourth place.

'Today was a really good one and a massive improvement from the first race. I qualified in P5 with a decent lap time and, from then on, I had a decent start to the race and stuck behind the top four of the Gold drivers. Quite a bit was happening in front of me and I knew I had to stay out of it.

'Unfortunately, Al Faisal was involved in an incident, which dropped him to the back of the grid. I managed to pounce on that opportunity and followed the leaders for the rest of the race to finish fourth, first in Silver, and first in Rookie. It was a perfect win. However, we keep on working and moving forward and I wish Al Faisal better luck in the next races.'

For Al Faisal, it was a frustrating experience after finishing second in the qualifying session behind Pereira.

Al Faisal al Zubair drives his car during round eight at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday

'Unfortunately, it hasn't been the best of weekends for me. On Friday, I had problems in qualifying that saw me start further down the grid at seventh place. And in round eight, I had a much better qualifying session and started the race from second place. I didn't get the best of starts and was down into third by the opening turn. I found myself in a battle with Charlie [Frijns] and on the second turn there was contact between us. I spun out and had to drop to last spot.

'The rest of the race for me was trying to fight my way back to the front and make up as many positions as possible. I managed to work myself back to seventh place. I am sort of pleased with the final result, given that I had to start from the last place. I will have the opportunity to put things right again in Bahrain next month.'

The ninth and tenth round of the series will take place at Bahrain's Sakhir Formula One circuit on March 16-17 before the series comes to a thrilling conclusion as an official support race for the F1 Bahrain GP.

Overall standings: 1 Oliphant (192 points), 2 Al Faisal (173), 3 Frijns (152), 6 Khalid (104).

Silver category: 1 Magnus Oehman (107) 2 Khalid (104), 3 Christoffer Bergstroem (99).

Rookie category: 1 Khalid (104), 2 Saul Hack (91), 3 Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (


Oman- Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East Challenge Series: Khalid clinches Silver and Rookie category honours

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