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Dubai race weekend make or break for Kuwait’s Ashkanani in Round 5 of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

Star Kuwaiti driver Zaid Ashkanani is pinning his championship hopes on a huge weekend of racing at the Dubai Autodrome as the UAE prepares to welcome back the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East for the second time this season.

Sitting second in the overall standings Ashkanani is 39 points adrift of series leader and defending champion Clemens Schmid of Al Nabooda Racing, with 4 races and 100 points remaining until the end of the season. After securing his first ever victory in the competition in the previous Dubai round the Kuwaiti teenager will return to the UAE with confidence, knowing he has what it takes to get the better of his top ranked rival.

Despite his solid showing in the past, the odds are stacked against Ashkanani as he attempts to hunt down Schmid for the championship. UAE resident Schmid has won 6 of the season’s 8 races so far finishing second in the other two. For Ashkanani, that represents a serious challenge: “Clemens is the man to beat there is no doubting that. He has set the standard this season but I have to go out with the aim of beating him, it’s that simple. Realistically I need to win every race from now on if I am to beat him and that starts with Race 1 in Dubai. Last time round we got the tactics right and secured a victory and there’s no reason why we can’t do it again.”

The current season has seen the teenage Ashkanani breakthrough in the competition and put up a genuine challenge for the title. With 5 podiums from 8 races the Kuwaiti has cemented his status as a prodigal racing talent and one of the region’s premier drivers.

However, the most recent series weekend in Qatar saw Ashkanani lose valuable points in the title challenge after failing to make the podium in either race. A combination of bad luck and variable conditions saw him Clemens Schmid extend his lead which could allow the Al Nabooda man to take the title in front of his home crowd in Dubai this weekend. Asked if he would be satisfied with second in the competition Ashkanani replied: “Second place would be a satisfactory result, yes. Of course I want to win and come first but this is my second season in the series, I’m one of the youngest competitors and I believe I am improving so I am willing to be patient to ensure my development continues steadily.”

In the team title Dubai based Al Nabooda (314) continue to lead rivals the Saudi Falcons (263) and Skydive Dubai Falcons (234).

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East returns on 14th and 15th February for Round 5 at the Dubai Autodrome.

Overall championship standings after Race 2 Round 4

 

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

 

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