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Porsche Cup


Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal aims at Porsche GT3 Cup title

There are only a few one-make cups taking place on the racing circuit in Middle East region, like the amazing Yas Marina Circuit or the promising Al Reem Circuit.

One of those cups with the biggest heritage is surely the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, where the Saudi Arabian participants, such as Abdul Aziz Al Faisal (Al Faisal Racing Team), Faisal Binladen and Raed Abuzenadah from the Bison Reem Racing Team, are playing a major role in it.

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal could even become the first ever champion in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East next week if he can hold his nerve on home territory.

The Saudi driver has won six out of eight rounds since the new one-make Porsche series was launched in Bahrain back in December, finishing second in each of the other two races.

It means that, while there are four rounds remaining, he can clinch the title with another couple of second place finishes in Rounds 9 & 10 at Reem International Circuit outside Riyadh on Wednesday and Thursday next week (March 24-25).

There were jubilant scenes during a historic two days at Reem in January when Prince Abdulaziz marked Saudi’s first ever international circuit race meeting with back-to-back victories.

He repeated that feat when the Michelin and Mobil 1-sponsored series moved on to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit last month and a fortnight later scored another win and a second place in the UAE capital.

The only other two drivers to score victory in the series to date are his team-mate and cousin, Prince Khalid Al Faisal who lies second in the 12-round championship, and fourth-placed Bahraini star Sheikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa.

Both will be aiming for their second success in the Middle East’s inaugural season of Porsche GT3 Cup racing when the series returns to Reem next week, with the final two rounds to follow there on March 31-April 1. Sheikh Salman, the 2005 Formula BMW Asia champion and one of the pre-season favourites, will be particularly keen to improve on his haul of just one win despite starting five races from pole position.

While Prince Abdulaziz has been in dominant form, another Saudi driver, Faisal Binladen, has a 100 per cent record in the Mobil 1 Trophy for rookies and senior amateur drivers, and he will also be out to maintain his winning sequence next week.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East positions after Round 8
1. Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA), Al Faisal Racing Team 156pts
2. Khalid Al Faisal (KSA), Al Faisal Racing Team 111pts
3. Bandar Alesayi (KSA), 109pts
4. Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa (BAH) 106pts
5. Bandar Alireza (KSA), Bison Reem Racing Team 91pts
6. Raed Abuzenadah (KSA), Bison Reem Racing Team 76pts
Faisal Binladen (KSA), Bison Reem Racing Team 76pts
8. Fahad Algosaibi (KSA), ClassicArabia Racing 66pts
9. Jaap Vaandrager (NL) 57pts
10. Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Tolimit Racing 48pts
11. Fawaz Al Gosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 47pts
12. Nabil Karam (RL) Karam Rally Team 13pts

Mobil 1 Trophy positions
1. Faisal Binladen (KSA), Reem Racing Team 160pts
2. Jaap Vaandrager (NL) 134pts
3. Fawaz Al Gosaibi (KSA) 104pts
4. Nabil Karam (RL) Karam Rally Team 34pts

It is very impressive to see such a large and competitive participation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. Nevertheless I hope to see more competitors from other big countries and important cities such as Egypt, Abu Dhabi, Doha or Kuwait as this would surely make this Porsche Cup more popular in huge and important markets, and most important would guarantee a much better and widespread media coverage in the whole Middle East and North Africa region.
And since TV coverage is essential for the success of such racing series, I hope that next season the organizers will succeed in getting the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge aired on one of the leading Arabic-speaking satellite channel in order to make the cup even more attractive for future drivers and potential sponsors.

MS

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