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GP2 and Porsche GT3 Challenge support races add to F1 excitement

In addition to hosting the final and championship-deciding Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit will play host to two exciting support races over the F1 weekend – the season’s GP2 race finale and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.

Visitors will witness another championship battle with three teams in contention for the GP2 2010 championship title on Sunday. The second Porsche GT3 Cup season will commence over the race weekend.

Richard Cregan, Chief Executive Officer of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “A number of well-known Formula One drivers came from the GP2 Series, so this is a great opportunity for fans to catch a glimpse of future F1 talent. We hope that these races will help to encourage more budding racers from across the Middle East to step forward and participate in these sorts of categories.”

Final GP2 season 2010

With three teams in contention for the championship title, Yas Marina Circuit is preparing for an exciting race. The 2010 edition of the series – which is considered the breeding ground for Formula 1TM drivers – will conclude in the UAE capital on November 14.

Despite crashing out of the sprint race at Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy, Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado of Italian team Rapax already clinched the drivers’ championship title with two races to spare. However, Yas Marina Circuit will see the teams’ championship decided, with Rapax, Spain’s Barwa Addax and France’s ART Grand Prix teams all within 13 points of each other.

The GP2 Series – also known as just GP2 – was launched in 2005 following the discontinuation of the long-term F1 feeder series, Formula 3000. Since then, it has firmly established itself on the world stage as one of the premier one-make racing championships in the world.

Almost half the current F1 grid had their chance to race at the pinnacle of motorsport after proving their worth in the GP2 Series. Examples include 2005 Champion Nico Rosberg, who was hired by the Williams team for the 2006 F1 campaign; 2006 GP2 winner Lewis Hamilton, who made the transition to F1 the following year with McLaren; and the 2007 Champion Timo Glock who moved to Toyota for the 2008 F1 season. Additionally, 2009 GP2 champion Nico Hülkenberg moved up to a Williams F1 race driver in the 2010 F1 season.

From this year’s GP2 drivers, Barwa Addax team member Sergio Pérez will race for Sauber next F1 season, partnering current driver Kamui Kobayashi and replacing Nick Heidfeld. Meanwhile, it is rumoured that Rapax’s Maldonado will join the Williams team next season.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

The exciting one-make series will kick off its second season at Yas Marina Circuit on 13 and 14 November. Among the competitors will be Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal, returning to the circuit to defend his 2009/10 title, with close competition from his cousin and team-mate, Prince Khalid Al Faisal.

The UAE’s very own Khaled Al Qubaisi will participate along with the UAE’s Musaed Al Murar and Ibrahim Salloum, Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Rashid al Khalifa, and Bandar Alesayi, Faisal Binladen, and Fahad and Fawaz Algosaibi, all from Saudi Arabia.

Walter Lechner, founder of Lechner Racing – who runs the GT3 Cup series – said: “It is designed to identify top Arab and locally based talent in the region and become a platform for entry into the world of international GT and sports car racing. Motor racing is not cheap, and to take part in this series you have to invest in a brand new Porsche GT3 Cup car to begin with. So it’s for people who are serious about racing and who may not have much spare time.”

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