It was a great weekend for the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East at Jeddah:
The second round of the 2021/22 season of the series took place as a support event to the Formula 1 debut in Saudi Arabia on a fascinating new street circuit, extremely fast, but tight and narrow at the same time, with the first night race providing a very impressive atmosphere for the record field of 25 participants. Victory in the two races of the weekend went to 16-year old youngster Morris Schuring, who had already dominated the first weekend in Bahrain, in the fascinating night race on Saturday and to Dylan Pereira in the 150th race of the series on Sunday.
In Qualifying Pereira, who actually planned to be in Jeddah only as an instructor, but jumped into a race car on very short notice after regular driver Richard Wagner couldn´t take part for medical reasons, had secured pole position for both races with an impressive gap of about half a second. But in the first race, he had a rather bad getaway, suddenly found himself in the middle of a fight for P1 on the first corner, was spun around from behind, dropped back to the very end of the field and even with a great recovery race, only came back to P10. So two local Saudi Arabian drivers, first Fahad Algosaibi and later Bandar Alesayi, were leading the race for more than half of the distance – to the huge delight of the home crowd. Only towards the end Dutchman Schuring after a not perfect qualifying was rewarded for a great fight from P6 on the grid, overtaking one after the other of his opponents and finally taking the lead from Alesayi, also winner of the Pro-Am category with two laps to go. Algosaibi claimed the final spot on the podium next to his Saudi Racing teammate – a great effort for the local squad.
On Sunday, Pereira, the 24-year old experienced Porsche Supercup driver from Luxembourg, who already won the 300th Supercup race at the historic Spa-Francorchaps track this year, took the lead immediately and was never in danger of losing the win, even after a two lap Safety Car period due to a crash of David Grover. Later, the race had to be red flagged on lap eight after Saud al Saud had crashed heavily into the barriers, but due to the rules the Saudi was still classified second in the GT4 class. Runner-up behind Pereira was again Bandar Alesayi from Saudi Arabia, also winner of the Pro-Am category. Coming home fourth behind James Dorlin, Schuring kept his lead in the championship.
Victory in the Am-Category went to David Grover on Saturday and to Jan Dobber on Sunday.
In the GT4 category, Charlie Wurz, son of Austrian Ex-F1-driver Alexander Wurz, just having turned 16 on Thursday before the race, dominated the weekend, securing pole position and victory in both races.
Robert Lechner (Head & Promoter):
“It was a fantastic experience to be part of this great new event, the first F1 Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, and I would like to congratulate the Saudi Automobile & Motorcycle Federation, SAMF, and everybody involved for their great achievement of reaching this milestone. Also a special thanks to all the drivers and our team members. To have all our cars on the grid for the historic 150th race of the series was very special and I am really proud of the discipline shown by everybody through all the sessions on this very demanding new street circuit.”
Michael Schöch (General Manager):
“Round 2 is in the books now, but after the race is just before the race. After this ever so successful event all our logistics are already focused to move the whole grid, cars, spare parts etc. from Saudi Arabis to the UAE, where we will race in January for the first time at the Porsche Sports Cup Middle East – a stand alone event together with Porsche. The weeks in between will be dedicated to a great preparation again – but also to celebrate Christmas with all our employees and their families.”