Al Nabooda Racing and Skydive Dubai Falcons countdown to Round 3 and first Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East races of 2015
Clemens Schmid of UAE-based Al Nabooda Racing is looking to this weekend’s racing action as a new opportunity to extend his impressive form in the region’s most competitive racing series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, as the drivers prepare to showdown in Round 3 at Losail International Circuit, Qatar.
The third round of the season looks to be one of the most compelling yet for UAE race fans with Skydive Dubai Falcons showing their strong performance last year was no flash in the pan. The Emirati outfit have steadily built on their successes into Season 6 and look to be one of, if not the, strongest team in the competition thanks to the exploits of drivers Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi. The acid test for both sets of UAE-based teams is set to come on the track near the Qatari capital Doha this weekend with big wins or losses having the potential to make or break the teams’ campaigns.
After taking the chequered flag in 3 of the 4 races so far this season, former champion Schmid is determined to build on his impressive platform of success and is also best placed to do so. Currently topping the Drivers’ Championship, the UAE resident is four points clear of his nearest rival, defending champion Zaid Ashkanani – the Kuwaiti who beat Schmid to the top spot last season – but Schmid has shown that he is very much the man to beat in Season 6.
Speaking about his 2015 prospects Schmid commented: “Obviously I’m delighted to have secured the wins so far but there is a long way to go in the season. Last year ended well and it’s always nice to reach that end of year marker at the top of the standings but one bad race could cost me the top spot and I do not want that to happen. I’ve always enjoyed the track in Qatar, we’ve got a packed field of excellent drivers so it’s going to be exciting and we’ll be working to make sure 2015 starts in the same way it ended last year - with a podium finish.”
Set to play host this weekend will be the thrilling Losail International Circuit near Doha, Qatar. With tight turns and a lightning quick mid-section the track has hosted some of the most exciting races in recent memory. Previously Losail has been best known for floodlit night races but for Round 3 the drivers will be competing under the hot Qatari sun with even faster lap times expected.
Hoping to capitalise on the warmer track temperatures will be Schmid’s UAE counterpart, Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum of the Skydive Dubai Falcons whose season is off to a flying start, as is that of his teammate, Saeed Al Mehairi. The Skydive team have secured four podium finishes out of four in Rounds 1 and 2, an impressive record which has propelled the drivers to the top of their Silver category and their team to the top of the rankings.
Speaking about their 2015 prospects Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum said: “We have had a great start to Season 6 and we want to keep this momentum going. It’s been hard work to keep the consistency but our strategy is working and we are very happy with the results. Qatar is going to be another big test and there is definitely something symbolic about getting in the car for the first race of the year. For that reason it’s going to be an extra special weekend and we will be making sure to stay focused on our main goal; a podium finish.”
The region’s leading drivers will line-up in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup again as the star attractions at Losail International Circuit for Race 1 and 2 of Round 3 on Friday and Saturday the 23rd and 24th of January.