FAISAL AL ZUBAIR CLAIMS FIRST PODIUM IN FORMULA 4 AUTUMN TROPHY

By: Ashok Purohit

He is yet to get out of his teens. But that has barely stopped a hugely passionate and determined Faisal al Zubair from pursuing his dream of racing at the top level.

In only his second season of competitive racing, the Omani youngster competed in the 2015 Duo British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Formula 4 Autumn Trophy. And he was no pushover, putting up a stellar show to claim the first podium of his fledgling career.

Faisal finished a laudable third in the fourth race at the hallowed Snetterton 300 circuit in the UK on Sunday.

The 17 year old Faisal, who races for Fortec Motorsports, finished behind teammate Ben Barnicoat and Douglas Motorsport’s Harrison Scott.

Scott led from lights-to-flag in the fourth and final race of the weekend, and in the process, opened up a commanding lead in the Autumn Trophy standings.

The Autumn Trophy field lined up on the grid of the final race without one driver. Hillspeed’s Struan Moore sat out following a crash in race three earlier in the day.

Following the first four races of the Autumn Trophy, Scott leads the standings with 128 points, with HHC Motorsport’s Sennan Fielding 33 points behind in second place as Barnicoat a further 12 points down in third. Faisal is fourth in the standings with 79 points.

The Autumn Trophy concludes with four more races on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on November 14-15 in Kent, UK.

Earlier in the third race, Faisal missed the podium with a fourth-place finish among a grid of seven drivers. The Omani driver began his campaign with a seventh-place result in the qualifier for the first race and managed to finish sixth in the opener. In the second qualifying race, Faisal fared better, taking the sixth spot, but he was pushed down to the last place in the main race.

Faisal’s determination to fight back was evident when he climbed to fourth spot in race three despite having qualified last. Sennan Fielding kept a cool head to take the victory in an incident-filled race three. Scott ended second with South African Sisa Ngebulana of HHC Motorsport finishing third.

The Autumn Trophy allows teams to evaluate the new drivers for the 2016 season, while it also offers additional mileage for those drivers from the 2015 campaign who remain with the championship for another campaign.

Earlier, Faisal had contested the 2015 main championship with Hillspeed, achieving one podium in a successful rookie season in the BRDC Formula 4, finishing 16th overall despite missing two rounds during the year.

The young racer, who regularly broke into the top ten and improved throughout the season, claimed his maiden top-three finish on the series’ return to Snetterton for the sixth round of the year, with a determined drive to third place in race two of the weekend.

Faisal’s previous racing experience has come mostly in karts at the Muscat Speedway, with highlights including winning the 2013-14 Oman Senior Rotax Max Challenge crown, and being part of the title-winning Oman Endurance Karting Championship team. Prior to Formula 4, Faisal’s only car racing experience came in Formula Gulf 100.

I have had good pace so far, says Faisal

In his remarks to Muscat Daily from Rolle, Switzerland, ahead of the start of the Autumn Trophy, Faisal said, “After the release of the all-new 2016 BRDC F4 car, it was an easy decision for me to compete in the Autumn Trophy. The increase in both power and the aerodynamic package of the car will make its climb onto the next step of the motor sport ladder a lot easier. I am excited to join Fortec, as it is a team that has proven in many arenas to be the leader.”

“Throughout the 2015 season, I have had good pace to fight for the top spots. My goal is to learn and push as much as I can. My main goal now is the 2016 championship. My preparation and testing programme should be a strong one before the championship kicks off in April 2016.

“Last year was a great year, I was improving every race. Towards the end of the championship, we proved that we had the speed to be closer to the front. Finishing on the podium in third place out of over 20 cars at the end of the last season was a boost for me. With more testing to come and with a strong team like Fortec, I’m aiming for a strong season ahead,” said Faisal.

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY