Hasher Al Maktoum finishes 3rd to claim first ever podium for Skydive Dubai Falcons
Clemens Schmid of Al Nabooda Racing has won the second race of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East fifth season at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) today ahead of Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani and Skydive Dubai Falcons Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum who claimed his first podium in only his second ever race in the series.
On a proud day for Porsche Middle East that marked the 50th race of the championship’s history, the Dubai-based driver Schmid collected maximum points from pole position in an incident-packed race.
Following his victory by 8.4 seconds Schmid said: “It has been a perfect start and sets me up nicely for the remainder of the season. The conditions were tough with a slippery track but I felt I was in full control of the race and accelerated from the field.”
In a comfortable race win for Schmid the real drama came with three laps to go when Skydive Dubai Falcons star Al Maktoum produced a number of stunning overtaking moves to surge past last season’s runner-up Abdulaziz AlFaisal of the Saudi Falcons and Germany’s Hubert Haupt to finish a hugely impressive third.
Following a fantastic debut weekend Al Maktoum who finished fourth in the opening round said: “It has been a brilliant weekend for me and the team. The conditions were really difficult but I managed my tyres well. In the first five laps I wanted to keep control of my position and then push the drivers in front of me. I saw the opportunity to overtake Haupt and Abdulaziz. It is amazing that I have my first podium and help the team with valuable Team title points for Skydive Dubai Falcons.”
The fight to complete the top six witnessed numerous changes in position with some thrilling overtaking. Al Nabooda Racing’s Karim Al-Azhari, starting fifth on the grid, was in a fight to finish in the top six throughout the race as young hot-shots Bahrain’s Mohammed Mattar, Skydive Dubai Falcons Saeed Al Mehairi and Christina Nielsen pushed the experienced Dubai-based driver all the way.
Suffering from the track conditions and for grip Azhari dropped five places in the final four laps. First Team Bahrain’s Mattar and then Denmark’s Christina Nielsen, who finished the race fifth and sixth reeled in the Al Nabooda driver. The action continued into the final lap as AlFaisal spun letting Skydive Dubai’s Al Mehairi take advantage to secure seventh place. Other notable performances saw Charlie Frijns, who starting last on the grid show his fighting qualities and pace soaring through the field to finish ninth.
In an intense weekend opening weekend, the first race of the season was also won by Schmid. After securing pole position, the Dubai-based driver continued the form that won him the championship with victory as rising-star Ashkanani came in second and Karim Al-Azhari third.
Season 5 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East continues in the United Arab Emirates with Race 3 and Race 4 scheduled to take place at Dubai Autodrome on the 12th and 13th December 2012.