After two years, the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East 2021/22 came back to the Yas Marina Circuit for the forth race weekend of the season – and already saw the first championship decision: After race one, Saudi Racing secured the team title, proving again that local talent is advancing more and more in this highly competitive series.
It was Bandar Alesayi from Saudi Racing who claimed victory in the first race, taking the lead immediately from pole position and never losing it until the finish line. But the Saudi driver had to fight hard for his first win of the season, as Dutch youngster Morris Schuring was very close to him most of the race distance, finally finishing 0.517 seconds behind. “I knew I could not afford the slightest mistake, so I am really happy I was able to withstand the pressure and claim victory, securing the team title for us at the same time”, Alesayi was celebrating. Dutchman Daan van Kuijk finished in P3 just ahead of drivers championship leader Fahrad Algosaibi.
In the second race it was 16-year-old Schuring who had claimed pole position and with a good start went to the lead ahead of his Saudi championship rival Falgosaibi. “I was able to keep the gap around one second most of the time and bring the win home”, Schuring, who will celebrate his 17th birthday on the 20th of February, was happy about the victory, which kept him in close contention in the fight for the championship: “I am just 6 points behind before the final races at Bahrain in March, so everything is still possible. I will give everything I have again there, it would be a dream come true for me to win this title so early in my career.” Fellow Dutchman Lucas Groeneveld finished in third place, while German Richard Wagner, fourth in track, dropped back to P5 behind Alesayi due to a 5-second penalty for violating track limits.
Victory in the AM category went to Jan Dobber from the Netherlands in race one, but the Dutchman had to retire in the second race with two laps to go due to technical problems.
The GT4 class looked to be dominated again by Saud al Saud from Saudi Arabia, who claimed both pole positions and also victory in the first race. But in the second heat he finally was beaten by his fellow countryman Khaled Almahaidi, who overtook him with about five laps to go to claim his first win of the season. In the GT4-CE class last year´s Middle East GT4 champion Leo Willert from Austria won both races ahead of Macej Walenda from Italy. Both drivers enjoyed it very much to race at this great location and also took the opportunity to make it into a nice weekend with family and friends.
Michael Schöch, General Manager of the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East.
“Coming back to Yas Marina Circuit was really great. It was the first time we raced her on this track in the new configuration, which made laptimes about 15 seconds faster. Again we saw very high driving standards of all competitors, also shown by the fact that there were no incidents which caused any serious damage. We had a great weekend here at this fantastic location together with our partners Porsche Middle East & Africa and for sure we will be back again next year.”
Walter Lechner, Technical Director
“Congratulations to all the winners and podium finishers in all classes – and especially to Saudi Racing for winning their first team title. Now we are looking forward to a great final at Bahrain as a support race to the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Formula 1 season opener 2022, at the 18th to 20th of March weekend. With the decision in the drivers´ championship still open, we can expect a very exciting race weekend again there!”