Jeffrey Schmidt takes Al Nabooda Racing to victory in Race 2 of Round 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Dubai Autodrome
Al Nabooda Racing's Jeffrey Schmidt powered to victory in Race 2 of Round 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at Dubai Autodrome with an authoritative drive which sees him extend his lead at the top of the Driver's Standings. An excited Schmidt was joined on the podium by Qatar-based Charlie Frijns and the winner of the previous day's Race 1, Ireland's Ryan Cullen, in third.
The result comes as welcome relief for Schmidt and Al Nabooda Racing following Race 1 where he was forced to retire following a collision with his team mate Zaid Ashkanani. Victory in Race 2 was all but essential for the UAE resident. Starting from second on the grid, Schmidt was quick to redeem himself and take ownership of pole position as he continues his hunt for the Season 7 championship title in what is his debut season.
After taking the lead in just the second lap, Schmidt took control as the race wore on, winning by one of the most comfortable margins of the season so far and extending his lead over Ryan Cullen in the championship from one point to five points.
Speaking after his race win Jeffrey Schmidt said: "I feel really good, everything fell back into place today and for me that's how it should be. Yesterday was a really hard day for me and the team so it was nice to get a victory and give something to all the people that came out to support me and the Al Nabooda Racing team. It was so important for me to take points from this home race so I am pleased with the performance and hopefully the next round here will be just as good as today's race."
Initially billed as the glorious homecoming of the Al Nabooda Racing team, Race 1 of Round 4 threw the Driver's Championship wide open with Ryan Cullen stealing a surprise victory. The result saw Cullen close the championship race down to just one point with Schmidt clearly out to prove a point in Race 2.
Qualifying on pole it was Charlie Frijns who showed the pack the way to turn one with a strong start which kept Schmidt and Abdulaziz AlFaisal at bay. Zaid Ashkanani was an early winner as he pushed past Ryan Cullen on lap one. However the challengers did have to wait long to make their move. At turn one of lap two Frijns' brakes locked causing to run slightly wider with Schmidt quick to pounce and take the lead.
In the battle for third Ashkanani piled the pressure on Abdulaziz AlFaisal as Ryan Cullen returned the favour on the fourth placed Kuwaiti driver. On lap three Ashkanani's pressure yielded results as AlFaisal ran wide allowing both Ashkanani and Cullen to move up to third and fourth. Shortly after it was Cullen who saw a gap and seized his chance on the opportunity to take third.
As the second half of the race wore on Schmidt continued to extend his lead at the front while Abdulaziz AlFaisal challenged hard for fourth in an absorbing scrap with Zaid Ashkanani both drivers battling firmly but fairly, Zaid unwilling to give up his place.
After a thrilling weekend of racing Round 4 at Dubai Autodrome will certainly go down as one of the most exciting stages of Season 7. After entering Round 4 with a 26 point lead, Jeffrey Schmidt has had his advantage cut to just 5 points by Ryan Cullen who has identified himself as a true challenger for the title. Kuwaiti starlet Zaid Ashkanani remains in third and has extended his lead over Saudi Arabia's Abdulaziz AlFaisal (121pts) in fourth.
The region's leading drivers will line-up in the Porsche 911 GT3 as the star attractions at Dubai Autodrome on February 19th for Round 5 of the region's most professional racing series.