In the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series, things are being as closely fought on the leaderboard as on the track itself. After two rounds, the top two Gold category leaders Charlie Frijns and Ryan Cullen, are tied on points, while in the silver category, Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair heads Bandar Alesayi of KSA by just three points. It’s a similar story in bronze where Magus Ohman is just five points ahead of Isa S. Al Khalifa.

The way a racer approaches a mid-season break is also as individual as his or her racing style. Some may choose to stay glued to the track while some may choose chilling as a better idea. Founder and organiser of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, Walter Lechner feels, “Many of the drivers have taken different approaches to the winter break, some have aimed to get away from the track and refresh their minds. For others they don’t want to let go for a second and have focussed on maximising opportunities in their cars. There is no right or wrong but with the leaderboard so close across every category it will be very easy to see who has made the right decision and we don’t have to wait too long to find out.”

For instance, Bashar Mardini the newcomer from UAE said; “It has been nice to have some time away from the track to re-group and prepare for the return to the championship next weekend. I was pleased with my improvements in the last round and enjoyed racing here on my local track. I have used the time to study areas of my driving in which I think I can improve on, but there is no better way to improve them than getting back in the car!” Bashar had got his first podium finish in Round 2 itself.

The result of the preps will be first evident in the Round 3 as the series makes a comeback at the Dubai Autodrome this week, followed by the Round 4 in Yas Marina Circuit, two weeks from now. Bahrain will welcome back the drivers to the home of the Porsche GT3 CCME for the last two round, the final one being held as an F1 Support Race in April.

Launched in 2009, the GT3 championship is currently in its seventh season, bringing together the region’s leading drivers on one platform and in one machine – the powerful and dynamic Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at the three world-class racing venues of the Middle East.

2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East race schedule:


27 – 28 Jan 2017

Dubai Autodrome, UAE


10 – 11 Feb 2017

Yas Marina Circuit, UAE


3 – 4 Mar 2017

Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain

ROUND 6 – F1 Support Race

14 – 16 Apr 2017

Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge tests ‘race or rest’ strategy was last modified: January 24th, 2017 by Sudeep Koshy

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