2021 International GT Open: Al Faisal hopes to stay on top in Hungary
Following their splendid weekend at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium in the second round, Oman’s Al Faisal al Zubair and his Spanish teammate Andy Soucek, head to the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod, Hungary, this coming weekend determined to defend a slender one-point lead in the 2021 International GT Open Championship.
Al Faisal and Soucek recorded their maiden race win at Spa and then rounded off the second round with a third-place podium finish to garner 43 points, a point more than their nearest rivals, Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini crew of Frederick Schandorff/Michele Beretta.
The Lechner Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3 R crew of Al Faisal and Soucek's success in Belgium marked the first outright win for a Porsche in the GT Open series in almost five years. Kevin Estre and Peter Terting were the last crew to grace the top step of the podium with the Stuttgart brand in Barcelona at the end of the 2016 season.
Ahead of the back-to-back races in the third round on Saturday and Sunday, Al Faisal said, “Very excited to go into the third round at the Hungaroring with a one-point championship lead. “I think going by the championship and our philosophy, this will not change anything from our side to be honest.
“I think the team is prepared now. We are working better together. On a personal level, the Hungaroring is a racetrack that I am strong at. It’s a track that Andy likes as well and where the Porsche will be strong. Hopefully we come out with a good points’ haul at the end.”
Al Faisal and Soucek have joined forces with Lechner Racing after achieving their own successes in circuit racing.
Two of the highlights of the young Omani’s career so far were his two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East titles, while Soucek was the 2009 FIA Formula Two champion and has achieved more recent success in the Blancpain GT and GT World Challenge America series.
Two free GT Open practice sessions are scheduled for Friday and then teams will take part in a 30-minute qualifying session on Saturday. The 70-minute opening race takes centre stage on Saturday.
Qualifying for race two is scheduled on Sunday morning and precedes the one-hour second race.
Overall standings (After round two)
1 Al Faisal al Zubair/ Andy Soucek 43 pts
2 Frederick Schandorff (Switzerland)/ Michele Beretta (Italy) 42 pts
3 Baptiste Moulin (Belgium)/ Yuki Nemoto (Japan) 36 pts
4 Ollie Millroy (Great Britain)/ Brendan Iribe (US) 29 pts
5 Jordan Pepper (South Africa)/ Ivan Peklin (Ukraine) 21 pts