x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Al Faisal focused on extending Porsche GT3 lead in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi driver expects a tough challenge from compatriot Bander Alesayi at Reem in this week's races.

Abdulaziz Al Faisal leads the standings in this season's Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
Abdulaziz Al Faisal leads the standings in this season's Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.

Saudi Arabia's Abdulaziz Al Faisal could take a major step towards another triumph in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East on home territory this week, but he is still prepared for a tense fight to the finish in the title race.

The championship leader approaches Rounds 7 and 8 taking place at Reem International Circuit outside Riyadh on Wednesday and Thursday holding an eight-point lead over his nearest rival, fellow-Saudi Bandar Alesayi.

Abdulaziz, who won the 2009/10 title and was runner-up last season, knows that a double victory at Reem, where he won six out of eight GT3 Cup races in the previous two seasons, would give him an almost unassailable advantage, although any mistakes or misfortunes could let in Alesayi, with two final race weekends to follow in Qatar and Bahrain next month.

"My record at Reem is very strong, and I'm looking to keep it that way," said the Saudi. "I want to win every race, there's no question about that, but at the same time the overall goal is to win the championship.

"At this moment we have to think about collecting as many points as we can, and that means using our heads. My priority is to stay ahead of Bandar, and if that means settling for second or third, I'll do that.

"He's been fast all seasonand he's going to be fast again at Reem. He'll definitely be pushing hard to get in front of me and stay there to get as many points as he can. I want to be in a really strong position at the end of the next two rounds. But one mistake or a non-finish could make a big difference. Anything's possible."

Further down the grid, Saadon Al Kuwari is focused on maintaining his impressive form in his first season in the series.

The veteran former Qatari rally champion has been given a new lease of life by the Porsche one-make series, and currently holds a comfortable lead in the battle for the Michelin Silver Trophy in the intermediate class.

He faces a stern challenge from his nearest rival, Swiss Armind Schmid on his first time at Reem.

"I went there for the first time three weeks ago to watch some racing, but I haven't driven there before," Al Kuwari said. "It looks a nice track. Some of the other guys say it's a good circuit for rally drivers because it has fast corners where you can use the full power of the car, so I don't think I will have any problems. I'm looking forward to it."

Returning to Porsche GT3 Cup action this week is Faisal Binladen who has put his racing career on hold for the last two years while studying in London.

The Saudi Falcons owner links up with teammates Abdulaziz and Saeed Al Mouri on the circuit where he clinched the top rookie's title in the championship's first season.