Schmid, Al Harthy aim to build on team championship lead in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East
February 24, 2015 - Reigning champions Al Nabooda Racing aim to take a decisive step towards a third successive team title in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East this weekend when the series returns to Dubai Autodrome.
After opening up an eight-point lead over nearest rivals Sky Dive Dubai Falcons, Clemens Schmid and Ahmad Al Harthy are aiming to build significantly on that advantage before the final race weekend of the season in Bahrain on 18-19 April.
“The competition is closer than ever and both the team and drivers‘ championships will come down to the wire,” said Al Harthy. “But the momentum is with us so our target now is to make the gap between us and second place as big as possible.
“It’s great for us to be at the top, but we have to focus and work hard to maintain the lead. It’s key for us to build on our performance last time out in Qatar and get quicker in the last four races of the season.”
Schmid, pursuing his second GT3 Cup drivers’ title in three years, leads the current standings by six points from Kuwait’s defending champion, Zaid Ashkanani, and is looking to add to his five wins from eight rounds so far this season.
The Austrian driver was hindered by car set-up problems and a broken alternator during the last race weekend in Qatar where he settled for two second place finishes.
But his partnership with Al Harthy at Losail International Circuit produced back-to-back team wins for Al Nabooda Racing, and the Omani driver is relishing a return to action at Dubai Autodrome this weekend.
“In Qatar we weren’t able to show our true pace and potential individually, but by working together and getting the best out of each other, we managed to end up with the most points as a team,” said Al Harthy.
“We learnt a lot from the experience, and hopefully we can apply this in Dubai where the circuit is very fast and technical, with lots of opportunities to overtake. This always makes racing more exciting.
“It’s not like any other track in the Middle East and I’m looking forward to racing again in front of our home supporters. We want to give them something to cheer about.”
After three test sessions on Thursday, official practice and official qualifying the next morning lead to Round 9 of the 12-round series in the afternoon. The second qualifying session follows on Saturday morning ahead of Round 10 in the afternoon.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East - team standings:
1. Al Nabooda Racing (UAE) 288pts
2. SKY DIVE Dubai Falcons (UAE) 280
3. ClassicArabia Racing (KSA) 182
4. Team Bahrain (BAH) 177
5. Frijns Structural Steel ME (QAT) 147
1. Clemens Schmid (UAE) 190pts
2. Zaid Ashkanani (KUW) 184
3. Saeed Al Mehairi (UAE) 145
4. Charlie Frijns (NED) 137
5. Hasher Al Maktoum (UAE) 135
6. Raed Raffi (BAH) 113
7. Ahmad Al Harthy (OM) 98
8. Wolfgang Triller (GER) 97