BIC, Sakhir – Nineteen years old Kuwaiti Zaid Ashkanani was today confirmed as the new champion of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
The talented young driver scooped up the title by the narrowest of margins after finishing third in the second race of the season’s final round, held as part of Speed Weekend at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
Ashkanani secured his crown by a single point over defending champion Clemens Schmid.
Schmid won the race and came agonisingly close to securing back-to-back championships. But with Ashkanani taking the last podium step, he was left to concede the hard-fought battle.
“I’m really happy, but I also feel really tired,” a speechless and visibly relieved Ashkanani said following the race’s podium ceremony.
The race’s final classification was deliberated over by championship officials after the chequered flag. They were trying to determine the involvement of some drivers in a few incidents during the race, which could affect the finishing order and thus the title battle.
It was later determined that the original race results stood, confirming Ashkanani as the new champion. Porsche GT3 Cup officials today released the final points standings.
Ashkanani improved to 245 points to pip Schmid.
Charlie Frijns finished the race in second place to come away with his second podium of the round. He, however, was already out of contention for the title, and he finished seventh on the championship standings with 144 points.
Former champion Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal ofSaudi Arabiaclaimed third place on the final rankings with 224 points. Karim Al Azhari followed with 186 in fourth, while Saeed Al Mehairi and Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum scored 181 points apiece.
Frijns followed in seventh position, while TeamBahraindriver Mohammed Mattar finished the season in eighth overall on 122 points. Tenth was teammate Shaikh Salman bin Rashed Al Khalifa with 117 points.
A total of 17 drivers were classified in the Gold class.
In the Silver category, Antonio Giancola of Italy managed to come away with title, also by the slimmest of margins.
Giancola completed the season scoring 99 points, capturing the crown just two points ahead of overall runner-up Hannes Waimer of Germany.
Former World rally champion and living legend Nasser Al Attiyah ofQatarended the year on a high note. After winning both races in his group in the final round, Al Attiyah managed to climb to third on the Silver category standings with 70.
Finally, Al Nabooda Racing Team were crowned champions after finishing a dominant season with 426 points. The Saudi Falcons came second, although were well behind the leaders, with 361 points. Sky Dive Dubai were third, and Team Bahrain fourth.
Following the completion of the season schedule, the Porsche GT3 Cup cars will be back on track one last time this season with an exhibition round held in support of the 2014 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, taking place April 4-5-6 at BIC.