Tom Oliphant and Al Faisal Al Zubair both opened the new season of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East on a positive note today morning at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir

Oliphant topped the timesheet in the series’ first practice of the weekend, but it was Al Zubair clocked the best time of the day.

Oliphant registered a fastest lap of two minutes 03.643 seconds in free practice one.

Classified right behind him was Charlie Frijns from the Netherlands. Only 0.108s separated the pair at the top of the session’s timesheet. Al Faisal Al Zubair of Oman came third 0.303s behind Oliphant.

All of the quickest three in Practice 1 are competing in the series’ Gold class.

Setting the pace amongst runners in the Silver class was Magnus Oehman of Sweden, while the Bronze class was led by Rob Frijns of the Netherlands.

Team Bahrain’s Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, competing in the Silver category, was ranked eighth overall and third in his class. Teammate Shaikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa was ranked 14th overall and second amongst Bronze participants.

Later in the day, Al Zubair turned up the pressure to top the classification in practice two. He managed to pip Oliphant for the leading position – enjoying a gap of just 0.059s. His best lap of 2:03.147 was also marginally quicker than Oliphant’s leading time in the morning practice, securing him the fastest time of the day.

Former champion Zaid Ashkanani of Kuwait made up for a slow start to the day, finishing third 0.147s behind first place.

Oehman was once again the leader in the Silver class, while Shaikh Ali took over as the pace-setter in the Bronze category. Shaikh Isa was seventh overall and second in the silver category.

The Porsche field will next be out on track for the first Qualifying session on Friday at 12.35pm.

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