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Porsche - Season 9 review

Season 9 review

Season 9 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East has been described as the most exciting and challenging season so far with a perfect balance of seasoned professionals and young, exciting regional and European racing talent.

Round 1, Race 1 – Ashkanani victorious in opening race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 9

Delivering a flawless drive from pole to chequered flag, Kuwaiti driver Zaid Ashkanani took the opening win of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 9 and the first victory ever in a new generation GT3 Cup car in the region. Under the lights at Bahrain International Circuit, Ashkanani returned to the championship he won back in 2014 to be troubled only by British driver Tom Oliphant. Clocking some quick laps, Oliphant attempted to reduce the gap Ashkanani created, but the Kuwaiti showed his fellow Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup driver some impressive defence skills to race away and take the win.

Round 1, Race 2 – Oliphant wins second race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 9

British driver Tom Oliphant took the second race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 9 in one of the most intense battles for first place ever seen in the series. Starting from fourth on the grid at Bahrain International Circuit today, Oliphant delivered a masterclass in overtaking as he passed all three drivers ahead of him in a show of persistence and patience. The British driver successfully challenged Charlie Frijns of Qatar at the first turn while simultaneously fending off Saudi driver Fahad Algosaibi. He then took off in pursuit of Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman in second and Zaid Ashkanani of Kuwait in first. Clocking the fastest laps of the race early on, Oliphant ended up bumper-to-bumper with the top two for five solid laps before he took advantage of mistakes made by both on the exact same corner.

Round 2, Race 1 – Al Zubair wins opening race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Round 2 Season 9 at the Dubai Autodrome

Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair has claimed an outstanding victory in the first of two races at Dubai Autodrome this weekend in Round 2 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, as part of the UAE National Day series. The race win is a huge achievement and highlights the rapid development of the rising star who is driving in only his second season in the region’s most professional championship. From pole position the Omani teenager secured victory with an accomplished and assured performance, for his second win in his series career. The result means Al Zubair (67pts) is now second in the drivers’ standings and has narrowed the gap to only four points behind Tom Oliphant (71pts) of Great Britain going into Saturday’s race which marks the 100th race in the history of the prestigious series.

Round 2, Race 2 – Oliphant wins historic 100th race of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

Tom Oliphant of Great Britain has won the 100th race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Dubai Autodrome as part of the UAE National Day series, with Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair second and Germany’s Wolfgang Triller third. The landmark centennial race is the combined result of a special partnership between Porsche and Lechner Racing who committed to deliver the first and only professional motorsport series in region nearly a decade ago. The championship is credited with introducing the highest standards of racing to the Middle East as proven again today. Victory by Oliphant in the second race of the weekend came by the tightest of margins. A mere 0.707 seconds separated Oliphant from regional hero Al Zubair following a colossal duel over 14 intense laps. It was the sweet revenge and a reversal of the previous day’s result. But it was never comfortable for Oliphant. He was forced to defend throughout as Al Zubair charged in the closing laps yet he held on for a cherished triumph.

Round 3, Race 1 – Heroic Oliphant wins opening race of Round 3 in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Dubai Autodrome

Tom Oliphant of Great Britain has captured a memorable win in the opening race of Round 3 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Dubai Autodrome, with Oman’s Al Zubair second and Frijns of the Netherlands third. The championship, which is known as the first and only professional motorsport series in the region once again produced more spectacular high-octane motorsport action. The stunning victory by British star Oliphant came courtesy of a heroic performance as the series leader showed his true grit and determination to fight back and win from an unlikely sixth place on the grid.

Round 3, Race 2 – Al Zubair’s victory opens up race for the title in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 9

The intense battle for the drivers’ championship in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East remains remarkably close, as Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair took a deserved victory to complete Round 3 at the Dubai Autodrome. Al Zubair controlled the 14-lap race from the front to push main rival and championship leader Tom Oliphant into second place. The returning Dylan Pereira of Luxembourg crossed the line in third. The result narrows the gap in the overall standings with Britain’s Oliphant (144 pts) now only six points clear of Al Zubair (138 pts) at the half way point in the series. Dutch driver Charlie Frijns (112 pts) is third overall, courtesy of a fourth-place finish today.

Round 4, Race 1 – Pereira secures win and record lap time at Yas Marina Circuit in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Round 4

Dylan Pereira gave an unforgettable performance at Yas Marina Circuit to take his first ever win in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. The Luxembourg driver who qualified on pole sprinted clear from a chasing grid to take Race 1 of Round 4 in a masterclass of speed and control for a first win of the season and his young career. On the first of two race days this weekend at the UAE Capital’s famous circuit, Pereira set a blistering pace to qualify quickest. The impressive time of 2:10.893, was quicker than any other driver on the 18-car grid but also in the history of the championship, as he set the fastest lap ever recorded in a Porsche GT3 Cup Car at Yas Marina Circuit. British driver Oliphant couldn’t keep up with Pereira’s form and ended where he started in a satisfactory second. Oliphant’s closest rival for the championship title Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman finishing in third.

Round 4, Race 2 – Oliphant shines bright with victory at Yas Marina Circuit in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Round 4

Britain’s Tom Oliphant has boosted his chances of a first series win in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East by winning the second race of Round 4 at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The fine victory extends Oliphant’s lead in the championship to 19 points with only four races remaining in Season 9, after nearest challenger Al Faisal Al Zabair of Oman could only manage seventh place finish. A comfortable Oliphant was followed over the line by Dylan Pereira of Luxembourg in second and Dutch driver Charlie Frijns third after being gifted the opportunity for the win on the opening lap as those around him clashed.

Round 5, Race 1 – Pereira puts pressure aside to finish first in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Round 5

Dylan Pereira avoided drama on the track to take his second win in Season 9 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. Qualifying in a rapid 2:02:690, the Luxembourg driver pulled clear of the tensions and battles behind him to take a comfortable win.

Opening the penultimate round of the season at Bahrain International Circuit, Pereira took charge of a high octane and high emotion race. He showed no sign of giving away his position to championship title hopefuls Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman who started from second and Tom Oliphant from Britain in third. With a strong start, Pereira watched the battle for the championship in his rear-view mirror, with Oliphant and Al Zubair making contact in lap three and forcing Oliphant to retire. Al Zubair made ground on Pereira under the safety car, but Pereira’s pace was too much for the Omani teenager.

Round 5, Race 2 – Pereira sees double win in Bahrain at Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Round 5

Even a hazy Bahrain sky couldn’t block Dylan Pereira’s sights on the podium this weekend, as the young Luxembourg driver repeated his Race 1 form to take his second win. Pereira’s double win leaves the championship title undecided, and left to be resolved in a climatic final round taking place at the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Starting from fourth on the grid at the Bahrain International Circuit, no one could match Pereira’s pace as he pushed himself up to second by the first turn, before overtaking Charlie Frijns in lap two and pulling clear of the grid until the chequered flag. Frijns who started in pole, conceded his place to Pereira before Oliphant forced him to lock his brakes under pressure and sacrifice his tires. Oliphant ended the race in second with Frijns holding out for third.

Round 6, Race 1 – Omani teenager Al Zubair crowned Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 9 champion

A faultless race saw 19-year-old Omani sensation Al Faisal Al Zubair win Race 1 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Round 5 in style. Taking maximum points in Round 6, which acts as the official support race to the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, Al Zubair added his name to the history books as the winner of Season 9.
Starting on pole, Al Zubair 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 Zubair though, who powered away at the restart to produce a five second lead and drive flawlessly until the chequered flag.
Al Zubair 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. He becomes one of four Arab drivers to win the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East championship, joining Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani, Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al Faisal, and Bahrain’s Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa as local talent that the series has already helped develop since its inception in 2009.

Round 6, Race 2 – Perfect finish to Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season for champion Al Zubair

Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman chose the perfect occasion to deliver his first back-to-back race win of the year, and showed the world of motorsport how the Middle East closes a racing championship. The 19-year-old Omani who secured the overall title in Race 1 of the weekend, ended his season perfectly with a second win in front of the 2018 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix crowd. The grid lined up for the final time this season and had fans on the edge of their seats. From the start, the front six drivers were evenly matched and raced into the corner side-by-side. Isa A. Al Khalifa of Bahrain came out in front with Al Zubair, Isa S. Al Khalifa also of Bahrain and Dutchman Charlie Frijns closely behind. Al Zubair and Isa A. Al Khalifa took it in turns to overtake one another, before Al Zubair pulled away in lap four where he stayed until the chequered flag on the race and the season was waved.

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