Ashkanani gets back into action at Reem International Circuit
Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani was back in action as testing got underway at the Reem International Circuit ahead of Rounds 7 and 8 in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, the region’s most exciting and professional race series.
Ashkanani, part of one of the strongest grids in the history of the championship, took to the 3.2 KM circuit for the first time after the winter break with four one-hour practice sessions.
The youngest driver on the circuit and one of the finds of the season, Ashkanani, was excited with his first outing on the circuit despite the sandy conditions which meant the grip was limited for drivers.
The 18-year-old, currently in fourth position, shared the views of other drivers as far as the track was concerned. He added: “It is by far the fastest track we have raced on this season. The sandy conditions will make it a tough race as we do not have the grip on the tyres that we would like, but I am assured that I will produce two quality rounds of racing to push me higher up the championship table.”
Home favourite and current championship leader, Abdulaziz AlFaisal arrived at the venue looking to extend his small lead over Austrian Clemens Schmid, who won back-to-back rounds, the last time the leading one-make series was in action in Dubai.
Looking back on his opening test sessions AlFaisal said: “The conditions were tough today. There was no grip on the tyres due to sand on the circuit. It is a tough circuit but one the drivers will enjoy because of the long and windy straights, which allows you to maintain a consistent speed. But it is great to be back in action after a seven week lay-off. If the conditions remain the same, I expect two very interesting but tough rounds.”
Al Nabooda’s Schmid, who is looking to build on his consecutive round wins in Rounds 5 and 6 at the Dubai Autodrome and pile the pressure on AlFaisal feels his fast-pace is perfectly suited to the circuit.
Speaking after testing the young Austrian, who won Round 7 at Reem in Season Three said: “I have had good testing sessions today and the car feels perfect and ready to go for Rounds 7 and 8. The Reem circuit has very fast straights which enables you to maintain your speed. I am quietly confident of success this weekend.”
Walter Lechner, Manager of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East said: “It is great to be back after the winter break and I believe we will witness one of the closest championship finishes in the history of the series. It is moments like this that drivers practice hard and come into motorsport. With over 10,000 spectators expected for both days, we are in for two fantastic races this weekend.”
Qualifying and racing for Round 7 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 6th February at Reem International Circuit.