Team Title adds new dimension to Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East
The newly installed Team title category has added a new dimension and an extra edge to the competition as Saudi Falcons look to win the inaugural trophy in the fourth season of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
With five teams battling for supremacy, Dubai based Al Nabooda Racing are currently on 225 points, with a marginal 20 point lead over Saudi Falcons, led by reigning champion Abdulaziz AlFaisal. Team Bahrain have also held their own in the competition with two young drivers in their ranks. Mohammed Mattar and Raed Raffii, with the help of 2011 champion, Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, have compiled 202 points, with Frijns Structural Steel ME and Qatar Gebhardt GT in fourth and fifth respectively.
Walter Lechner, Manager of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said: "We wanted to add extra spice to the championship and make sure everyone fights to the very end. It means every driver is fighting for every available point and putting emphasis on the team's performance as well as the individuals. From the first six rounds of the season we have already seen how every driver is fighting to finish the race as fast as they can to gain the maximum points for the team."
"Three teams are currently in contention for the title, with Al Nabooda having a slight advantage going into the second half of the season. But as with the drivers' championship, I believe the team title will also go right down to the wire," added Lechner.
While Al Nabooda Racing have held the ascendency in the standings thanks to the performances of Clemens Schmid and UAE's Karim Al-Azhari, the Saudi Falcons duo of AlFaisal and Faisal Binladen have kept the pressure on their rivals and ensured the points margin has been within touching distance.
With Rounds 7 and 8 to be held at the Reem International Circuit in February after the winter break, AlFaisal and team-mate Faisal Binladen will be looking for home advantage to propel Saudi Falcons to the top of the standings.
With many fans looking at the drivers' championship as the only recognised award, AlFaisal said both the drivers and team title carry equal weight for the team, even if they don't with the fans.
He added: "I think they carry equal status. The drivers' is the one that the public remember and I think within the team, if you ask the guys on the shop floor, the constructors' is the one where the real pride is because they are measured against their peers up and down the pit lane, and indeed the bonus is paid on the constructors'. So I think if you ask the team, the constructors' is the one that has the real weight to it. From a prestige [point of view] the drivers' is right up there, so in reality they both have the same weight, the same value, the same prestige to us."
"BinLaden and myself will be looking to take advantage with us driving on home territory and put more pressure on Al Nabooda, and hopefully be on top of the table before we embark on Rounds 9 and 10. I'd love to win the team title as it is a team effort. We've still a long way to go and a lot can happen in that time," AlFaisal added.
Jo Otayek, PR Manager for Saudi Falcons believes the inauguration of the Team title is a fantastic addition to the GT3 Cup Challenge and is confident of his team's prospects in the second half of the season.
He added: "We take every race on its own merit and our aim is to defend the title with Abdulaziz AlFaisal and also try to win the Team title. Everything is possible in motorsport. We will have the advantage of driving on home soil for Rounds 7 and 8 and with fifteen thousand spectators in attendance we are very confident of success."
With the team title and drivers' standings too close to call, the 2012/13 season is perfectly positioned for a grand finale with six rounds to go.
The series returns for Rounds 7 and 8 at the Reem International Circuit, Saudi Arabia on the 6th and 7th February.