Today the drivers of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, including Qatar-based Charlie Frijns, seized the chance to make final preparations ahead of the last round of Season 8, which features as an official support race to the 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
The sole remaining practice session ahead of the title deciding weekend was always going to be a tense occasion especially as every category of the drivers’ championship is still wide open with only two races to go.
In final practice, Frijns was third behind Al Faisal al-Zubair of Oman, who was quickest, and Ryan Cullen.
Doha-resident Frijns said, “As a driver you dream of this day and it’s only possible thanks to Porsche Middle East and Lechner Racing. No other racing series in the region offers incredible moments like this. This weekend is such a big weekend for me, as I’ve still got the opportunity to win the drivers’ championship for the first time. To finish second would still mean a successful season but for now I still dream of winning my maiden championship and will do everything I can to clinch victory.
“We have less time on track than normal as we’re sharing the circuit with the Formula 1, so every lap and second out there counts to get set-up right.”
The most competitive season in the championship’s history sees Ryan Cullen of Ireland (238) and Frijns (205) sit at the top of the standings. A maximum of 50 points can be won over the weekend but Frijns will not only have to win both the races but also hope that Cullen finishes well down the grid.
Britain’s Tom Oliphant is third (198) but has no chance of improving upon this as he’s absent this weekend due to a prior driving commitment. Fourth-placed Dylan Pereira (169) of Luxemburg will aim to go past Oliphant.
Saudi’s fifth-placed Bander al-Esayi (157) and Oman’s debutant youngster al-Zubair (156) will have Pereira and silverware in their sights. Any driver from third to six place can still mathematically finish in the top three.
Walter Lechner, founder and manager of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said, “Charlie’s own style and skills have emerged and gone from strength to strength just like the series. He has matured hugely in Season 8 and matter what happens this weekend he’s had his best season yet and shown he can contend with the quickest.
“The driver who can handle the pressure and avoid all the distractions that come with the occasion will stand on top of the podium come Sunday and I cannot wait to be the first to congratulate them. It’s been a very special season and there is no better way to bring it to a close.”