Title-chasing Bandar Alesayi has warned his rivals in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East that he is targeting a double race victory as the series returns to action at Yas Marina Circuit over the next two days.
The 12-round Porsche one-make series reaches the half way point in the 2011-12 season as the headline event in Abu Dhabi, and Alesayi plans an all-out attack in an effort to catch or overhaul the championship leader, fellow-Saudi Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal.
“My target now is to win every race,” said Alesayi, who tasted victory on the same circuit during last month’s big Formula One weekend race programme and wants a double helping of the same in Round 5 tomorrow (Thursday) and 24 hours later in Round 6.
“I’m definitely quicker this season. I’m driving with a lot more confidence and pushing the car to the limit. It’s all about experience really. As well as that, I had a long break in the summer and did a lot of thinking. This season I’m handling the car a lot better, braking later, and overall performing much better than I did last year.”
Pursuing a second Porsche GT3 Cup crown in three years, Prince Abdulaziz remains the title favourite but faces intense pressure this weekend from Alesayi, Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy, Belgian Stephane Lemeret and Austrian Clemens Schmid.
After grabbing pole position for rounds 3 and 4 and winning the second race, Al Harthy is not content with third position in his first season in the series, while Lemeret is anxious to present Dubai-based Al Nabooda Racing with their first Porsche GT3 Cup victory.
Schmid is not contesting the championship in full but will be on the starting grid tomorrow (Thursday) looking for a repeat of his opening round success in Dubai last month.
“We’ve got five drivers all capable of winning and there’s very little between us,” said Alesayi. “Qualifying will be crucial, but if you start from the front you can’t afford to make any mistakes.
“Based on his performances over the last two years, Abdulaziz is the one to beat and he knows how to win. But we’re all at the same level and in every race now there is very little to separate the driver who wins and whoever finishes fifth.”
Competition is also expected to be tough in the Mobil 1 Trophy for drivers over 45, and Qatar’s Saddon Al Kuwari will be under growing pressure as he tries to carry his 100 per cent winning record through a third double race weekend.
1. Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA) Saudi Falcons 72pts
2. Bandar Alesayi (KSA) Alesayi Racing 68pts
3. Ahmad Al Harthy (OM) Oman Air Racing 66pts
4. Stephane Lemeret (BEL) Al Nabooda Racing 58pts
5. Saeed Al Mouri KSA) Saudi Falcons 46pts
6. Saddon Al Kuwari (QA) 34pts
7. Mark Thomas (CAN) 27pts
8. Hans Guido Riegel (GER) Haribo Racing 24pts
9. Hannes Waimer (GER) 23pts
10. Clemens Schmid (AUT) 20pts
10. Armin Schmid CH Team TCE
1. Sadoon Al Kuwari (QA) 80pts
2. Hannes Waimer (GER) 63pts
3. Hans Guido Riegel (GER) Haribo Racing 62pts
4. Fawaz Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 54pts
4. Rob Frijns (NL) 44pts
6. Manfred Ender (AUT) 33pts
7. Jaber Al Khalifa (BAH) 22pts
8. Alain Muraour (F) 10pts