Kuwaiti Sensation looking to build on Yas Marina podium
Zaid Ashkanani has nothing less than another podium finish in his sights when he takes to the track in Rounds 5 and 6 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East on the 13th and 14thDecember.
Having qualified 4th for Round 5 Ashkanani – the youngest driver of one of the strongest grids ever assembled in the series – has been boosted by an impressive performance in Round 3 at the Yas Marina Circuit, where he broke into the top three for the first time in his maiden season of professional racing.
The 18-year-old produced an excellent in Round 3, starting in fourth position on the grid, to pip Team Bahrain's Mohammed Mattar and Raed Raffii.
In Round 4, the youngster finished a respectable fifth, behind the likes of Abdulaziz AlFaisal and the Al Nabooda duo of Clemens Schmid and Karim Al-Azhari. Having tasted his inaugural podium finish, he is aiming for more.
Ashkanani said after recording a qualifying time of 2:03.752, and starting 4th on the grid for Round 5: "I am on a real high now and I think I am doing everything that I want to. The next step is to consistently finish in the top three and that will be my aim in the next two rounds."
In his debut season, Ashkanani lies in fourth place on the overall drivers' standings on 70 points, eight points behind third-placed Clemens Schmid. He will be looking to compile more points over the weekend to break into the top three.
Ashkanani added: "The Autodrome circuit is a lot quicker than the Yas, and it lets you maintain a good speed. I am confident this weekend of finishing in the top three once again."
Walter Lechner, Manager of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, said: "Ashkanani has been a revelation this season. He has proven in the previous four rounds he has the ability, but he has matched it with results. Gaining his first podium will give him a lot of confidence going forward. It is one of the main targets for a driver to get his first podium. He has done that now, but the real work starts now and for Zaid to be fighting to get on that podium on a regular basis.
Saudi Falcons Abdulaziz AlFaisal is looking for a hat-trick of wins and increase his 12 point lead over second-placed Al-Azhari, who is on 82 points. He will also be pursued by Schmid, currently on 78 points.