Sheikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa // Porsche Cup Champion

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Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa is the new champion in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East after a dramatic last weekend of racing in the series at Dubai Autodrome.  Now between you and me, the championship couldn’t have asked for either a nicer or more talented guy to pull it out of the hat.

It was however Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal that won the final round of championship for his second successive victory of the day, but fourth place was enough to allow the affable Sheikh Salman to snatch the title from the defending champion.

Teenager Fahad Algosaibi finished in second place to secure third position in the series while fellow-Saudi Bandar Alesayi grabbed the third podium spot and finished fourth overall.

There was more frustration for Khaled Al Qubaisi who went out of the race along with his Abu Dhabi team-mate Musaed Al Murar when they sadly collided on the first lap. But  Al Murar was the leading rookie in the series while German Johannes Waimer won the Mobil 1 Trophy for drivers over 45.

Having already scored five victories in the series against four by Sheikh Salman, Prince Abdulaziz needed to win the 12th and final round and rely on the Bahraini to finish no higher than sixth in order to retain his title. Just as he had done in Round 11 earlier in the day, he made a flying start from second position on the grid and edged his way past Algosaibi.

While Abdulaziz was in command from that point on, Sheikh Salman also had a trouble-free 14 -lap race to wrap up a championship which he had led from the first round in Abu Dhabi last November.

At the finish he said he now looks forward to defending his title next season. “It’s a fantastic feeling,” he said. “It has been a long, tough season and I had a great fight with Abdulaziz.”

Prince Abdulaziz said: “I gave it everything and I couldn’t have done any more. I’m happy with the results today but I have to say congratulations to Salman for taking the title. He deserved it.”

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