Imola: Al-Faisal Al-Zubair returns to International GT Open Championship action alongside team-mate Andy Soucek at this weekend’s fourth round of the series at Imola in Italy.
Forced to miss the last round in Hungary through illness, the Omani’s place in the Lechner Racing Team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R was taken by stand-in driver Benjamin Barker.
Speaking about his return to action, Al-Zubair said: “I am extremely excited to be back in the car at Imola after missing Hungary due to illness. I am prepared for it, feeling good and looking forward to it. It will be more difficult than a weekend like in Spa, based on the fact that I have never been to Imola before.
“It will be enjoyable to get to know the track and the circuit and hopefully getting a great result. Coming back to the championship with positive results is our priority this weekend. For now, with the championship a bit more difficult to gain, it will be good for us now to push for podiums.”
Along with Soucek, Barker maintained the team’s title challenge in Hungary and the duo finished third and fourth in the two Hungaroring races. Race one victory fell to Michele Beretta and Frederik Schandorff in their Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini and Loris Spinelli and Gianluca Giraudi won the weekend’s shorter second race.
Beretta and Schandorff now hold a six-point lead over Soucek in the championship standings, with Al-Zubair dropping down to fifth place after missing the Hungarian round.
Two free practice sessions are scheduled for GT Open teams at Imola on Friday (July 23). Teams will then take part in a 30-minute qualifying session from 09.00hrs (CET) on Saturday, prior to the 70-minute opening race that takes a rolling start format from 14.25hrs.
Qualifying for race two is scheduled from 09.00hrs on Sunday and precedes the one-hour second race, starting at 14.55hrs.
2021 International GT Open - overall standings after round 3 (6 races):
1. Frederick Schandorff (SUI)/Michele Beretta (ITA) 67pts
2. Andy Soucek (ESP) 61pts
3. Ollie Millroy (GBR)/Brendan Iribe (USA) 49pts
3. Baptiste Moulin (BEL/Yuki Nemoto (JPN) 49pts
5. Al-Faisal Al-Zubair (OMN) 43pts, etc