Bahrain: Al Nabooda Racing secures team title while Kuwait’s Ashkanani secures drivers Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East title

Schmid won the final race of the season Ashkanani in third was enough to clinch the drivers title

Bahrain, Sat March 8th 2014: A suitably dramatic final race of season five of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East saw Al Nabooda Racing win the series’ team title by a stretch after Clemens Schmid secured a comfortable victory in Race 2 of Round 6 at Bahrain International Circuit.

Despite taking maximum points from the final race of the season the third place finish of Zaid Ashkanani means it’s the Kuwaiti who takes home the drivers title with Schmid finishing second in the overall standings by just one point. Before today’s race Ashkanani led the series by five points meaning second placed Schmid had to beat his rival by at least three places.

For fellow UAE team Skydive Dubai Falcons Race 2 was a mixed bag with Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum unable to start, while his team mate Saeed Al Mehairi drove with confidence to finish sixth after starting eighth. The results mean the Skydive Dubai team finish a hugely respectable third on the overall team standings while in the drivers’ title race both drivers end on the same number of points for joint fifth.

On a day in which Schmid knew victory in Race 2 would give him his best chance of defending his title the Al Nabooda Racing star pushed his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to the limit in qualifying and secured pole position for what was sure to be an extremely tight battle.

Speaking after the race Clemens Schmid said, “Obviously I am disappointed as I wanted to be drivers’ champion. I have worked hard all season to secure victory and to lose by just one point is extremely hard to take. I have some consolation in Al Nabooda Racing taking home the team title which is well deserved. As a group we have put in a huge amount of effort across 12 races and it’s great that we once again have the trophy for the cabinet.”

Fellow UAE outfit Skydive Dubai Falcons can look back on a successful season which saw them finish third in the team title by just two points, with the Emirati duo of Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi establishing themselves amongst the region’s top drivers.

Speaking after Race 2 of Round 6 Al Mehairi said, “Our first season in the competition has been filled with some great highs and to finish as the third best team in a hugely competitive series gives us a platform on which we hope to build. Today was an action packed race and I was happy to move up to finish sixth in what was a very tense battle. Concentration and focus was the key again today as errors can be extremely costly.”

Race 2 in Round 6 was interrupted after the initial start following an on-track incident and began with rolling start where Schmid held pole and Ashkanani fifth.

Schmid made full use of his advantage to extend the gap between himself and the rest of field to win Race 2 by 4.393 seconds with Frijns also maintaining a substantial distance between himself and the next driver.

The real-battle was for third place and delivered the fight of the season between Ashkanani, Al-Azhari and AlFaisal. Al Nabooda Racing’s Al-Azhari initially took control of the spot despite being bumper-to-bumper with Ashkanani in the opening laps. Then Saudi Falcons AlFaisal pounced on a mistake by Al-Azhari to overtake the UAE-driver into third. But he never had full control of the position and was under constant pressure from Ashkanani.

At the mid-point of the race, Ashkanani, Al-Azhari and AlFaisal were neck-and-neck going into the first corner and the decisive moment of the race was to unfold. The Kuwaiti teenager was sandwiched between his adversaries but kept his composure to break free and take full control of third and the challenge title.

Final Gold Category overall challenge standings – Top 6

 

Name

Country

Team

Points

1st

Zaid Ashkanani

Kuwait

Buzaid GT

245

2nd

Clemens Schmid

UAE

Al Nabooda Racing

244

3rd

Abdulaziz AlFaisal

KSA

Saudi Falcons

224

4th

Karim Al Azhari

UAE

Al Nabooda Racing

186

5th

Hasher Al Maktoum

UAE

Skydive Dubai Falcons

181

6th

Saeed Al Mehairi

UAE

Skydive Dubai Falcons

181

 

Final overall team title standings – Top 3

 

Name

Country

Points

1st

Al Nabooda Racing

UAE

426

2nd

Saudi Falcons

UAE

361

3rd

Skydive Dubai Falcons

KSA

359

 

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