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All eyes on Doha and Schmid as Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East returns to Qatar

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, the leading one-make championship series involving the region’s most promising drivers, is set to make a return to the Losail International Circuit, Qatar for Rounds 9 & 10 on 8th and 9th March 2013.

The fourth edition of the series has been one of the closest in the championship’s history and after producing two clinical performances in Rounds 7 and 8 at the Reem International Circuit to move to the top of championship standings, all eyes will be focused on new leader Clemens Schmid of Dubai-based Al Nabooda Racing.

The young Austrian’s recent performances have seen him claw back a12 point deficit to overtake Saudi Falcons Abdulaziz AlFaisal and move six points clear in a two-horse race for the title with only four rounds to go.

As drivers reach the critical end of the season attention now turns to the Losail International Circuit in Doha for the next two rounds, a circuit that only made its debut in Porsche GT3 Middle East Cup Challenge last season.

Walter Lechner, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said: “It is a great honour to bring the leading one-make series to Qatar for the second year running. Last season was spectacular when we raced under lights and this season promises the same again with the championship poised nicely.

“It was always our aim of taking the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge across the entire region and showcasing the best racing talent in the Middle East. In Qatar the facilities are fantastic and the circuit is very demanding which will only add to the occasion.”

“Reem brought out the very best in this series with so much action, drama and incredible racing. I expect the same in Qatar as the drivers will be pushing themselves and their Porsche GT3 to the limits. It’s going to be intense with everything still to play for in the individual and team standings.” added Lechner.

Last year’s debut event in Qatar was the first Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge night racing event staged anywhere in the world since the one-make championship was introduced seven years ago, running initially in Brazil, New Zealand and the US.

The introduction of the Qatar circuit on the schedule last year also marked another milestone for the one-make series by uniting all five if the region’s top race circuit’s, having already become well acquainted in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Last season also saw Saudi Falcons Abdulaziz Al Faisal secure his second title in three years at the Losail International Circuit. Having won Round 9 the previous day, the Saudi finished in second place behind Austrian Clemens Schmid in Round 10 to acquire enough points to give him the outright driver’s title with two rounds to go.

This season is a different story. The title set to go right down to the wire with Schmid producing championship form when it has really mattered. With four back-to-back wins, the Austrian has now won six out of eight rounds raced in the fourth season.

Looking forward to Round 9 and 10 in Qatar, Schmid said: “Reem was a perfect weekend for me and the team. To take the lead in the championship standings is a huge boost for me and now I need to consolidate this and keep going till the end of the season. But I know Abdulaziz will be raring to go at the Losail International Circuit and will put the pressure on me, but I am ready for the battle ahead.”

The series moves to Qatar with the Losail International Circuit hosting Rounds 9 and 10 on the 8th and 9th March 2013.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, championship positions after Round 8, Reem International Circuit, 7th February 2013:

Overall

Position

Name

Entrant

Points

1

Clemens Schmid (AUT)

AL Nabooda Racing

178

2

Abdulaziz AlFaisal (KSA)

Saudi Falcons

172

3

Karim Al-Azhari (UAE)

Al Nabooda Racing

142

4

Faisal Binladen (KSA)

Saudi Falcons

129

5

Zaid Ashkanani (KUW)

Team BuzaidGT

119

6

Mohammed Mattar (BAH)

Team Bahrain

117

7

Raed Raffii (BAH)

Team Bahrain

89

8

Manfred Ender (AUT)

Frijns Structural Steel

87

9

Christina Nielsen (DEN)

Nielsen Racing

82

10

Hanned Waimer (GER)

Team TCE

71

11

Fakhraddin Mirzoev (AZ)

Terma Travel Racing

67

12

Cengiz Oguzhan (TUR)

 

66

13

Abdul Rahman Al Thani (QAT)

Gebhardt Qatar GT

56

14

Antonio Giancola (IT)

MACOM

51

15

Salma bin Rashid Al Khalifa (BAH)

Team Bahrain

42

16

Hans Guido Riegel

Haribo Racing Team

40

17

Fahad Algosaibi (KSA)

Classic Arabia Racing

33

18

Rob Frijns (NED)

Frijns Structural Steel

28

19

Fawaz Algosaibi

Classic Arabia Racing

26

20

Bandar Alesayi (KSA)

Classic Arabia Racing

19

21

Faisal Raffii (BAH)

Team Bahrain

13

 

Team Title after Round 8 – Porsche Gt3 Cup Challenge Middle East

 

Position

Name

Nationality

Points

1

Al Nabooda Racing

UAE

320

2

Saudi Falcons

KSA

301

3

Team Bahrain

BAH

261

4

Frijns Structural Steel ME

QAT

147

5

Gebhardt Motorsport ME

QAT

56

 

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