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Abdulaziz AlFaisal looks to move up drivers’ championship as Saudi Falcons fight back in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

The Saudi Falcons have hailed consistency as key to their progress in season 5 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, as the team looks to build on their current position in the upcoming race weekend in Dubai.

Sitting second in the team standings the Saudi Falcons know they must produce a solid performance at the Autodrome if they are to close the gap on leaders Al Nabooda Racing, who will be looking to impress on their home turf. The Dubai round could also see Al Nabooda, led by defending champion Clemens Schmid, claim the team title depending on the Saudi Falcons results. 

The current standings and recent form suggest the Dubai round could be the most exciting yet with Abdulaziz AlFaisal posting amongst the fastest times in early practice. Speaking ahead of the race AlFaisal said, “We are approaching the business end of the season and you can tell there is more pressure as we all want to finish as strongly as possible. I was reasonably happy with my pace in practice and I’ll be hoping to take that through to qualifying. It’s make or break for us in the team standings; we have to perform well if we want to compete. For me in the drivers’ championship, the gap between second place Zaid (Ashkanani) is just 5 points and with 100 up for grabs before the end of the season I am expecting some tough races.”

AlFaisal’s teammate Faisal Binladen is also looking forward to getting out on the track and fighting the Saudi Falcons corner in the team championship. Speaking ahead of the race Binladen said, “The key for us is going to be qualifying. We’ve seen this season that a good position in qualifying can make all the difference when it comes down to the race itself. Practice has been great but with all the dust we basically spent a full day cleaning the track so I think we’re only going to get faster. Looking at the times it’s obvious that it’s going to be a close round. The first 8 drivers are separated by just 1 second so that shows just how tight it’s going to be.”

The second Dubai round of the series could be the most defining with home side Al Nabooda Racing closing in on the team title as their number one 1 driver Clemens Schmid looks to secure his second championship in as many seasons.

Right from Race 1 it was clear that UAE resident Schmid was aiming to pick up where he left off last year as he raced to the top of the table. 8 races down and Schmid sits 39 points ahead of his closest rival, Zaid Ashkanani, the only driver to have got the better of him on the track in 2013/2014.

Despite what appear to be whitewash results the improving standards have meant Schmid himself has had to dig deep to find the extra speed. Early on in the season Skydive Dubai Falcons’ Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum wasted no time in showing his driving talents and pushed the Al Nabooda man in the drivers’ championship. Now, after a few disappointing  rounds by his own high standards, two-time former champion Abdulaziz AlFaisal is in the thick of the title fight and with 100 points up for grabs over the next two rounds, there remains everything to drive for.

The region’s leading drivers will line-up in the new Porsche 911 GT3 as the star attraction of the Dubai Motorsport Festival this weekend.  The drivers will face 10 laps of the 5.39KM Grand Prix Circuit at the Dubai Autodrome with Race 1 on Friday 14th February and Race 2 on Saturday 15th February. The grid will include championship leader Clemens Schmid and Qatar’s rally legend Nasser bin Saleh Al Attiyah, who makes his Porsche debut in the UAE.

Overall championship standings after Race 2 Round 4 – Top 6

 

Name

Country

Team

Points

1st

Clemens Schmid

UAE

Al Nabooda Racing

196

2nd

Zaid Ashkanani

Kuwait

BuzaidGT

157

3rd

Abdulaziz AlFaisal

KSA

Saudi Falcons

152

4th

Hasher Al Maktoum

UAE

Skydive Dubai Falcons

130

5th

Karim Al-Azhari

UAE

Al Nabooda Racing

122

6th

Saeed Al Mehairi

UAE

Skydive Dubai Falcons

107

Overall Team Title standings after Race 2 Round 4 – Top 6

 

Name

Country

Points

1st

Al Nabooda Racing

UAE

314

2nd

Saudi Falcons

KSA

263

3rd

Skydive Dubai Falcons

UAE

234

4th

Team Bahrain

BAH

167

5th

BuzaidGT

KUW

121

6th

Milon Racing

GER

93

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