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Team Bahrain look to seize the moment at the Dubai Autodrome in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East

Team Bahrain duo of Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa and Mohammed Mattar will look to the Dubai Autodrome as the venue to turn around their season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.

The talented duo have been tested throughout a difficult season when race results haven’t gone to plan and luck has not been on their side. But refreshed and optimistic the Team Bahrain racers are looking forward to the final two rounds and pushing into the top 6 once again. Former champion Bin Khalifa currently lies eighth in the championship table with last season’s Silver Michelin category runner-up Mattar in 10th position.

Despite not racing the first round, Bin Khalifa produced a memorable comeback in Dubai earlier in the season, showing all his class as a former series champion, by finishing third. He will be looking to replicate his previous form the Autodrome this weekend.

Speaking after practice at the Autodrome, bin Khalifa said: “The Autodrome is one of my favourite circuits with fast straights and you are always in the race. I had a memorable race here earlier in the season and I need another inspiring performance to get back on track and finish the season off well. We have not had much luck but we need to start on the front foot in qualifying, ready and focused and seize the initiative.”

Meanwhile at the beginning of the season, there were high expectations from Mattar to be among the title challenges this campaign; however the young Bahraini has only managed to complete five out of the eight races, after on-track. Despite lying tenth, Mattar is confident of overhauling a 35 point deficit and finishing in the top six.

Mattar said: “I have not had the luck that I deserved and been in the wrong place at the wrong time during the races. But I have put all that behind me and am focused on finishing strongly and finishing in the top six. It is a realistic target for me and I am taking confidence from last season where I finished amongst the podium positions in the final two rounds.”

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 on Friday 14th February and Race 2 on Saturday 15th February. The grid will include championship leader Clemens Schmid and Qatar’s rally legend Nasser bin Saleh Al Attiyah, who makes his Porsche debut in the UAE. 

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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Bahrain International Circuit

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