Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair thrilled after race win at Spa with his teammate Andy Soucek
The thrill and excitement in his voice over the phone spoke volumes of his happiness on the race victory in the opening race of the second round of the 2021 International GT Open Series at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on Saturday.
Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair and his teammate, Spain’s Andy Soucek, came up with a thrilling performance to claim the top honours at the famed circuit.
“A dream, dream result. Honestly, I couldn’t be more happier as we came up with a victory in only our second race weekend of the highly-competitive GT Open Series,” a delighted Al Faisal told Muscat Daily over phone from the venue on Saturday night.
The 23 year old Omani racer added, “The car felt great.
Honestly, we did not have any complaints from the start of our practice session.
“Andy [Soucek] was great during the qualifying session as he secured P2. I was quite comfortable and confident in the car while racing and we achieved a deserving win. Overall, I and the team are very happy with the perfect result.”
The duo’s win in the Ardennes also ensured that the Lechner Racing duo took the overall lead in the championship standings.
Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Al Faisal began the first of the weekend’s two races from second place on the qualifying grid and managed to overhaul Brendan Iribe’s McLaren with around 20 minutes of the race remaining to snatch a stunning victory.
In dry and sunny conditions, the Omani opened up a gap of over five seconds with 17 minutes of the race to run.
Robbie Foley managed to pass Iribe in the TF Sport Aston Martin GT3 and claim second place with 14 minutes on the clock but Al Faisal had extended the Lechner Racing Porsche’s advantage to over nine seconds heading into the final ten minutes.
Al Faisal held on over the closing laps to pass the chequered flag 7.181 seconds in front of Foley, with Iribe finishing third in the Inception Racing McLaren after the 24-lap race.
Yuki Nemoto brought the Vincenzo Sospriri Racing Lamborghini home in fourth place to keep his and Baptise Moulin’s title challenge alive. Michele Beretta (Lamborghini) and Adam Carroll (Audi R8) were fifth and sixth after Loris Spinelli (Mercedes AMG) slipped down the leader board to eighth in the closing minutes.
Soucek qualified the Porsche on pole in the Pro category for the first of the weekend’s two races and second on the entire grid behind the cLaren of Iribe and Ollie Millroy. A lap of 2min 17.235sec was sufficient to claim the spot ahead of the Schandorff/Beretta Lamborghini and the Aston of Michael Dinan and Foley.
Al Faisal and Soucek also enjoyed a solid first practice session on Friday. They were classified fourth in the entire field and first in the Pro class after running for 19 laps and posting a best tour of 2min 19.176sec.
The duo faired even better in the second practice session and a best tour of 2min 19.377sec put them in second place in the entire field and again on top in the Pro class.
The second race of the second round of the seven-leg series will be held on Sunday.