Mattar and Raffii aim high as Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East heads to Reem International Circuit
Team Bahrain duo of Mohammed Mattar and Raef Raffii are gunning for podium positions when the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, the region’s leading one-make series returns from its winter break at the Reem International Circuit for Rounds 7 and 8 on 6th and 7th February.
Team Bahrain’s Mattar and Raffii are sitting comfortably in the top ten of the championship standings, seventh and eight respectively, but have high hopes of pushing themselves further up the table in the second half of the season.
Mattar has shown true competitive intensity in the five out of six rounds he has participated in the fourth season. With 82 points, he is 35 points away from third place Karim Al-Azhari and is quietly confident of displacing the Al Nabooda Racing driver.
Speaking ahead of practice at the Reem International Circuit, Mattar said: “With six rounds to go, there will be plenty of drama in the second half of the season. Anything can happen and overhauling 35 points may seem a tough ask, but a couple of good races from myself and the pressure will be on the drivers above me. Pressure can make the most experienced of drivers nervous.”
Raffii, who did not participate in the first two rounds of the season at the Bahrain International Circuit, claimed his first podium finish in Round 5 at the Dubai Autodrome. Having demonstrated his fighting qualities in the last two races before the winter break, Raffii wants to taste more podium success.
He said: “The elation I felt when I won a podium finish was amazing. It was a perfect occasion for me and the team. It was a huge burden that was lifted from my shoulders. Now I need to keep challenging for the position.”
Saudi Falcon’s Abdulaziz AlFaisal leads the championship standings with 140 points, a marginal 12-point lead against his closest rival, Al Nabooda Racing’s Clemens Schmid, followed by UAE’s Karim Al-Azhari on 117 points.
Walter Lechner, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Manager, said: “Mohammed Mattar and Raed Raffii, both newcomers to the series, have held their own against one of the strongest grids ever assembled in the history of the series. They have shown consistency and great temperament throughout the rounds they have raced in. The key now is for them to build on that and step it up and be amongst the pack challenging for honours.”
The Team Title category is just as tight as the overall championship standings with Al Nabooda Racing leading with 245 points, a 20 point lead over Saudi Falcons. Team Bahrain are in third place on 202 points.