Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal begins his quest for a second Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East title at Dubai Autodrome today, an event which is part of the Dubai Motorsport Festival. But he has been warned not to expect things his own way.
Al Faisal missed out on retaining his title in the 2010/11 season as he was beaten by Sheikh Salman bin Rashid, the Bahraini driver.
Bin Rashid is not back to defend his title this season, making Al Faisal the favourite for the championship. But his Saudi Arabian compatriot, Bandar Alesayi, believes he can challenge for the title after an encouraging year last season which saw him claim his first race win.
Alesayi, who topped the times in the final pre-season test at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Monday, said: "This is my third season in the GT3 Cup Challenge, I'm feeling good and my target is to win the title."
Al Nabooda Racing, the Dubai team making a first appearance in the GT3 Cup series, have high expectations. The team have the reigning UAE GT champion Karim Al Azhari and the former Belgian Touring Car champion Stephane Lemere as drivers.
Alongside the Porsche GT3 series action is the third round of the UAE National Race Day series with races in the UAE Superbike Championship, UAE Touring Car Championship, UAE GT Championship, Formula Gulf 1000, and the UAE Radical series taking place both today and tomorrow.
Ali Fardan Al Fardan, the Dubai Autodrome chairman, expects an entertaining weekend of racing.
"This is the nature of national racing in the UAE - locally based talent mixing it on track with select international campaigners - an eclectic mix which gives our motor racing scene a unique trademark," he said.
The absence of Ramzi Moutran, the Class 1 leader in the UAE Touring Car Championship, gives his rivals an opportunity this weekend to cut into the lead held by the Duel Racing Seat driver.
Nadeer Zuhour is second in the standings, and he will be looking to add to the one victory he already has this season.
In Class 2, Aslam Moola, the championship leader, is confident that he can build on his successful start.
"While it is still early days, I am quietly confident that I have a championship-winning car that needs to hold out for the rest of the season," he said.
In the UAE Superbikes, the battle for victory is expected to be again between Vendetta Racing teammates Mahmoud Tannir and Alan Boyter, who both have won two races.
Qualifying for the UAE GT race takes place today with the race taking place tomorrow, and Leon Price and Rob Barff will be looking to build on their encouraging start which saw them triumph in the opening round last month.