Fresh from securing a maiden top 10 finish in the Porsche Supercup series, Khaled Al Qubaisi, the third driver in Team Abu Dhabi by tolimit, has vowed to maintain his late-season momentum and fight for another strong finish when the series heads to Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend.
And with only three Supercup rounds remaining – the one-make championship dovetails Formula One’s European legs as its primary support series – Al Qubaisi revealed he is out to close a successful season in front of his home fans at Yas Marina Circuit on November 13.
“After all my bad luck earlier in the year, I’ve been looking to make up ground and by finishing 10th in Hungary I won six championship points – the same as my total for all of last season,” said Al Qubaisi. “And coming in the rain as it did, it was a great performance. I had no technical problems and even though I went off three or four times in the opening laps, I adjusted my lines, felt comfortable and put in the performance of my life.
“The Supercup is renowned for its competitiveness and among the field there are around 15 world-class drivers always chasing victory. It is hard to break in and to be honest, I was surprised at my pace towards the end – I was much quicker than other drivers and was catching the guys in front of me easily. I wasn’t pushing things, it just came naturally – that was the most pleasing aspect.”
Spa, one of the world’s most notorious motor-sport circuits, is as demanding as it is prestigious. It represents a tough challenge according to Al Qubaisi, who finished 23rd last year. “The weather patterns change so quickly, it’s always difficult. I am more confident about the series’ penultimate round in Monza and I’m really looking forward to Abu Dhabi. I’ve raced a few times at Yas and have more experience of the circuit than my rivals. I’ll also be giving a few pointers to my team-mates because we are in the hunt for both the team and driver titles.”
Sean Edwards, lead driver in Team Abu Dhabi, which is partnered by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), tops the drivers’ standings by a single point going into Spa. The omens for the Englishman are good; he topped the Belgian podium in 2008 and 2010.
The outfit’s second driver, Jeroen Bleekemolen, is currently fifth in the drivers’ standings, while Team Abu Dhabi is second in the team rankings with only six points separating the title-chasing squad from top position.