Dubai Autodrome next stop for region’s most exciting series
Mohammed Mattar got his season off to a solid start by finishing in the top six in the opening races of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East - a perfect preparation for Round 2 at the Dubai Autodrome on 12th and 13th December.
The last season’s runner-up in the Silver Michelin category produced two quality drives, following unfortunate starts to finish sixth and fifth respectively. He is looking to improve on his record on the tough circuit.
Looking ahead to the Dubai rounds, Mattar said: “I wanted to get off to a good start and have a base to build on. They were two tough races with a strong grid but I felt I could break into the top six and thankfully I did. I need to carry this into the Dubai round and hopefully challenge those above me and build some pressure.”
“I don’t have good memories and record in Dubai and I will be looking to rectify this during the weekend. The Autodrome is a tough circuit but one I enjoyed racing on, as it has fast straights and plenty of opportunity to overtake,” added Mattar.
Reigning champion Clemens Schmid got the defence of his championship off to a perfect start by securing two victories in the opening weekend of the fifth season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).
A world-class grid featuring 20 cars and drivers spanning eleven nations, including UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, will face a challenging track in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The Dubai Autodrome has a combination of high-speed straights and technical corners covering 4.3287 KM.
Walter Lechner, Manager of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said: “The opening weekend justified why this is the region’s best racing series. We saw action in both races, which were packed with drivers’ battles throughout the grid. In Bahrain, Clemens Schmid showed once again that he is quick but I am very much looking forward to seeing how the new drivers, like Hasher Al Maktoum, perform in front of a home crowd. Abdulaziz and Faisal will come back strongly, as they are both great drivers,” added Lechner.
The opening races in Bahrain saw a notable debut from Skydive Dubai Falcons’ Sheikh Al Maktoum, who finished fourth in his first ever race in the series and third in Race 2, to cap off an impressive weekend. He will be looking to showcase his undoubted potential in front of his home crowd.
Hasher Al Maktoum said: “There will be nerves driving on home soil and also pressure to replicate what I did in Bahrain. But I am confident in my own ability and will show my fans that I and Saeed Al Mehairi can fly the UAE flag proudly for Dubai.”
Kuwait sensation, Zaid Ashkanani, who finished second in both races, goes into Round 2, looking to re-produce the performances he showed in the opening weekend and fight for top spot.
He said: “It was a massive achievement to finish second in both races. The pressure is on to repeat those feats and continue fighting for the top spot from Clemens and Abdulaziz. They are title winning drivers who have been in this position before and they are not making it easy for me. I am ready for the challenge and will put all my energy into the next Round.”