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Clemens Schmid looks to close in on title at the Dubai Autodrome in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

Al Nabooda Racings Clemens Schmid is looking to take full advantage of driving on his home circuit as he aims to secure individual and team title honours in the penultimate round of racing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.

Schmid has once again been the man to beat for the strongest grid ever assembled in the series and has continued the storming form he showed last season where he secured his maiden title. The Dubai resident will be looking to familiar territory to secure his eighth and ninth victory this weekend in his quest to defend the championship.

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 driver Schmid looks to secure his second championship in as many seasons. 

Schmid and team-mate Karim Al-Azhari, who has secured two podium finishes so far this season, have only to maintain the 51-point lead they currently enjoy to secure their second consecutive championship.

Speaking after practice at the Autodrome, Schmid said: “As a team we are in a good position this weekend and it is up to us to see the job through. It’s not over until it’s over. At the start of the season our target was to defend both titles and so far we’ve been achieving that. I don’t expect it to be easy as I have Zaid breathing down my neck and he will be fighting until the final chequered flag in Round 6 in Bahrain. It will be an exciting occasion at the Autodrome that’s for sure and the scene is set for a great weekend of racing.”

Right from Race 1 it was clear that 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 appears to be a whitewash of winning 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.

Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Al Mehairi will be spurred on by their impressive showing in Round 2 at the Autodrome as they look to close the gap on Saudi Falcons in the team-title and also cement their positions in the top six in the overall standings.

Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum said: “There are moments in sport which are thrown at you and you have to take full advantage of them. Driving at the Autodrome, a circuit we are familiar with is one of those moments and we need to make sure we are prepared and focused if we want to continue moving up the individual and team standings. With only four rounds to go, we need to keep pushing.”

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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