Clemens Schmid looks to extend lead over Skydive Dubai Falcons as Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge races in Qatar
With race day in Qatar fast approaching, reigning champion Clemens Schmid showed why is the man to beat in the region’s most professional racing series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, posting the fastest time in practice at the Losail International Circuit ahead of an action packed weekend of top flight racing on the 17th and 18th January 2014.
After failing to reach his best in the early practice sessions the Austrian pulled out all the stops in Doha, securing a time of 2:00.753 ahead of Faisal Binladen of the Saudi Falcons and Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani. The result will give Schmid further confidence ahead of the two-race weekend which he comprehensively won this time last year.
Schmid boasts a hefty 24 point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship and knows two wins in Qatar would put him within an inch of claiming the title for the second year in a row. Speaking after practice the Austrian said, “I really enjoy this track, it’s a huge amount of fun to race on and I’m looking forward to the weekend. A few mistakes and some traffic on the early sessions hurt me but with some hard work we’ve managed to get a lot more pace.”
For fellow UAE team Skydive Dubai Falcons, Qatar represents an opportunity to further boost their credentials at the halfway stage of the competition. Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum currently sits second in the driver’s championship, a position Skydive Dubai Falcons also hold in the team competition.
After practice in Doha, the team have left themselves work to do posting the 10th and 12th fastest laps of the day but still just 2 seconds off the time to beat. For the race organisers the tightness in the pack is down to the pace of the new Porsche GT3 Cup car and the technical differences.
Speaking after practice, Sporting Director with race organisers Lechner Racing, Christoph Huber said: “We’re seeing a full second shaved off lap times compared to the time spent on the track last year and that’s only in practice. The raw pace and power of the car is adding a lot of extra thrill to the competition. Another interesting fact is just how close the drivers are to one another. Last year the difference between first and last was up to 13 seconds but this year with the new paddle shift system the difference is down to about 5 seconds. That means much more exciting racing for the fans.”
Overall championship standings after Round 2
Al Nabooda Racing
Hasher Al Maktoum
Skydive Dubai Falcons
Al Nabooda Racing