Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East: Bashard Mardini hopes for home-track advantage at Yas
Bashar Mardini, the lone UAE representative in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, hopes his experience of driving on the Yas Marina Circuit will give him an advantage when the series visits the capital this weekend.
Mardini, 35, competed at the circuit in 2015, driving a Porsche in the Gulf 12 Hour race, and he is hoping to put in a good performance as he returns to Abu Dhabi this weekend for the fourth round of the championship.
This will also be the final round of the series in the UAE – the last two rounds will be held in Bahrain – and the Emirati is keen to make use of this chance as he challenges for a top-three spot in the Silver category.
“This is going to be big for me,” Mardini said. “I love driving at this circuit and having driven here before, I will be hoping to set some strong times initially in practice and follow up with a solid qualifying time ahead of the races.
“At this stage of the season, it’s all about pushing for as many points as possible and putting the pressure on those at the top of the category standings.
“I have enjoyed every part of the season so far, and I can feel myself getting more and more confident with each race.
“It’s been a huge learning experience for me from the very start, especially driving on some of the circuits for the first time. I’m hoping to continue to build on my performances and results over the remaining rounds.”
Mardini is fifth in the Silver categor with 51 points. Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair is top with 99 points, followed by Bandar Alesayi (92) of Saudi Arabia and German Wolfgang Triller (73).
Irishman Ryan Cullen is top of the overall driver standings with 140 points after winning both the races in Round 3 at the Dubai Autodrome. Dutchman Charlie Frijns is second with 123 and Tom Oliphant (112) of Great Britain is third.
Race 1 of the fourth round will be held under lights on Friday night with a 6pm start, while Race 2 will be flagged off at 3.15pm on Saturday.
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Updated: February 7, 2017 04:00 AM