Kuwait prodigy looking to continue his form at Yas Marina
Zaid Ashkanani heads to the Yas Marina Circuit for Rounds 3 and 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, hoping to maintain the form that saw him finish fifth and sixth in Bahrain.
The 18-year-old Kuwaiti youngster eclipsed season-professionals to finish the weekend in overall fifth position in the drivers' standings and is hoping to continue where he left off. Despite only making his debut being such a tough contender to other more experienced drivers has earned him fulsome praise from his peers.
Speaking ahead of testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Ashkanani said: "It was an unbelievable experience to race at the Bahrain International Circuit. To finish as high as I did on my debut was a special feeling. It was my first experience in the 911 GT3 Cup, and it was simply incredible. I've never felt such power and balance. I have to maintain the form that I showed to prove to myself that it was not just a one-off. The key now is to continue with the same strategy as it worked perfectly in Bahrain. My goal is a podium finish."
He added: "I have watched the likes of Sebastian Vettel driving on the Yas Marina Circuit and to be following in their footsteps and driving in such a venue is a dream come true for me. It is another step for me in my career development."
Walter Lechner, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East manager, said: "It was very pleasing seeing someone as young as Zaid come onto the big stage and perform. To produce two outstanding races like he did in Bahrain gives everyone confidence that he has a big future in the sport if he continues to listen and learn."
"Motor racing is an unforgiving sport. Anything can happen during a race that is the beauty of it. Reputation goes out of the window once the engine starts. Zaid will have to start from scratch as he gets to grip with the 911 GT3 Cup on another world-class track new to him," added Lechner.
Ashkanani, who had no fear of reputation before the opening rounds, received widespread praise from a number of leading drivers for his debut performances in Bahrain.
"Zaid has shown unbelievable potential for such a young driver at the beginning of his career; he took us all by surprise," said reigning champion AlFaisal.
Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa said: "If he continues to learn and progress, I can see him becoming a future champion of the series. He had an unbelievable debut weekend."