(MENAFN- Muscat Daily) He will be celebrating his 20th birthday less thanten days from now.
But 19 year old Al Faisal al Zubair, Oman's talented racer, assured himself of an early celebration with a historic achievementon Saturdayat the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
Al Faisal became the first-ever Omani and only the fourth Arab driver to claim the prestigious Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Series title in the ninth edition of the championship.
Needing only a top-five finish in the penultimate raceon Saturday, Al Faisal, who had grabbed a double pole for the last two races, led from the start to the finish to clinch the crown in style ahead of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying session.
Al Faisal took the maximum points in round 11 to reach 238 points and secure the crown with the final race remainingon Sunday.
The last two races of the series act as the official support race to the 2018 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
In his exclusive remarks toMuscat Daily
soon after the win, Al Faisal said, 'I am over the moon. It is a dream come true for me to claim the championship in only my second season.
'I thank my team, my family and my well-wishers for having faith in me and I am proud to have won it for Oman at the support race of Bahrain F1 Grand Prix.'
Starting on pole, Al Faisal was pressurised at the first turn by Scotsman Glynn Geddie, but fought for his position and took the lead. The safety car was deployed in lap one, due to Christoffer Bergström spinning out into the barrier, and prevented the Omani from creating a gap. That didn't trouble Al Faisal though, who powered away at the restart to produce a five second lead and drive flawlessly until the chequered flag.
Al Faisal jumped on to the Formula 1 podium, holding his trophy high over his head to a round of cheers from global motorsport fans at the circuit.
Prior to Al Faisal, the other Arab drivers to have won the championship were Kuwait's Zaid Ashkanani, Saudi Arabia's Abdulaziz al Faisal, and Bahrain's Salman bin Rashid al Khalifa.
Al Faisal said, 'My start wasn't the best and I allowed Glynn to get very close to me in the opening corner. I managed to pull more of a lead after the following three turns. We had the pace today and I crossed the line comfortably in first place.
'To have won the championship at the age of 19 is something amazing. In my first race last season I finished in ninth place, while this season I've been competing for podiums and race wins. It just goes to show how much the championship develops you as a driver over a short period of time.'
Oman's other competitor in the series, 17 year old Khalid al Wahaibi came ninth but most importantly was ahead of his nearest rival Saul Hack of South Africa in the race for Rookie Championship. Another good raceon Sundaywill ensure another title for Oman with Khalid in pole position to win the rookie honours and Al Faisal set to take the GCC championship title also. Khalid is also in line for Silver category honours, which will be decidedon Sunday.
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