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Qatari star Al Attiyah relishes new challenge of UAE debut in Dubai

Qatar’s motorsport legend Nasser bin Saleh Al Attiyah will rely on his natural race instinct when he makes his UAE debut race performance at the Dubai Autodrome for Round 5 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.

Al Attiyah has been putting in long hours on track over two extensive days of testing to try and get as familiar as possible with his Porsche GT3 Cup car and the challenging 5.39KM Grand Prix Circuit layout in Dubai. 

Driving for Team QMMF (Qatar Motor & Motorcycling Federation), the all-round sportsman who added another trophy to his illustrious rallying career by winning the Silver Michelin category on his first ever race in Round 4 in Qatar. Now Al Attiyah has high hopes of a return to the podium. 

Speaking after the final free practice session and before the opening race of Round 5, a relaxed Al Attiyah said; “I absolutely love the new challenge of racing in the Porsche GT3 Championship. It’s always good to set yourself a new target especially at this stage in my career. It’s a new experience that involves the best drivers in region so that’s very exciting and special to me. I actually cannot believe this is a Dubai debut for me but I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Olympic medallist has never been one to shy away from a sporting challenge and his latest sees the legend trying to quick gain experience in the series. Al Attiyah entered the championship with only three rounds to go but has already equipped himself well, putting the wealth of his experience to good use. 

“This is a real test for me. The Porsche is fantastic car to drive but it takes a special driver to really get to grips with it. I know it will just take time and I’m still very new to it all. But I’m doing all I can to prepare for the race. It’s a tricky circuit with a lot of blind corners so judging breaking points is difficult. But when it comes to the race I’ll just let my instinct for racing take over.  If I can repeat my performance in Qatar and make the podium I’ll be very happy, added Al Attiyah.”       

The second Dubai round of the series could be the most defining with home side Al Nabooda Racing closing in on the team title as their number one 1 driver Clemens Schmid looks to secure his second championship in as many seasons.

Right from Race 1 it was clear that UAE resident Schmid was aiming to pick up where he left off last year as he raced to the top of the table. 8 races down and Schmid sits 39 points ahead of his closest rival, Zaid Ashkanani, the only driver to have got the better of him on the track in 2013/2014.

Despite what appear to be whitewash results the improving standards have meant Schmid himself has had to dig deep to find the extra speed. Early on in the season Skydive Dubai Falcons’ Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum wasted no time in showing his driving talents and pushed the Al Nabooda man in the drivers’ championship. Now, after a few disappointing  rounds by his own high standards, two-time former champion Abdulaziz AlFaisal is in the thick of the title fight and with 100 points up for grabs over the next two rounds, there remains everything to drive for.

The region’s leading drivers will line-up in the new Porsche 911 GT3 as the star attraction of the Dubai Motorsport Festival this weekend.  The drivers will face 10 laps of the 5.39KM Grand Prix Circuit at the Dubai Autodrome with Race 1 late on Friday 14th February and Race 2 on Saturday afternoon 15th February.

Overall championship standings after Race 2 Round 4 – Top 6

 

Name

Country

Team

Points

1st

Clemens Schmid

UAE

Al Nabooda Racing

196

2nd

Zaid Ashkanani

Kuwait

BuzaidGT

157

3rd

Abdulaziz AlFaisal

KSA

Saudi Falcons

152

4th

Hasher Al Maktoum

UAE

Skydive Dubai Falcons

130

5th

Karim Al-Azhari

UAE

Al Nabooda Racing

122

6th

Saeed Al Mehairi

UAE

Skydive Dubai Falcons

107

Overall Team Title standings after Race 2 Round 4 – Top 6

 

Name

Country

Points

1st

Al Nabooda Racing

UAE

314

2nd

Saudi Falcons

KSA

263

3rd

Skydive Dubai Falcons

UAE

234

4th

Team Bahrain

BAH

167

5th

BuzaidGT

KUW

121

6th

Milon Racing

GER

93

Next Race

17Nov

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