Ashkanani claims first podium position at Yas Marina Circuit

Kuwait rookie Zaid Ashkanani claimed his first podium position in Round 3 in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Yas Marina Circuit.

After starting fourth on the grid in Round 3, the youngster, in his first season of racing in the leading one-make series, replicated his stunning driving in the opening rounds in Bahrain by securing his first podium finishing in third place.

Ashkanani fashioned a calm performance as he pushed second-placed Karim Al-Azhari all the way while keeping a respectable lead from fourth placed Mohammed Mattar.

An ecstatic Ashkanani said: "I felt I did really well today. There was a lot of action in the front of the grid from the very start and it was a very tough throughout the race. In the end I managed to get onto podium to collect the trophy for the third position. This is incredible"

In Round 4, the Kuwaiti finished in a respectable fifth position, behind Qatar's Abdul Rahman Al Thani in third, and Al-Azhari in fourth.

When reviewing his results in Abu Dhabi, Ashkanani added: "I did well in Bahrain during my racing debut, but the weekend in Yas Marina has shown that I can keep up my performance."

Walter Lechner, Manager Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East said: "Zaid carried on his fantastic form from Bahrain and produced a performance which belies his age to claim his first podium finish. We all saw his talent on the opening weekend of the season, so to many it is not a surprise. If he continues to drive the way he is doing, he will be a real threat to the drivers above him in the championship table."

Ashkanani' s performances at the Yas Marina Circuit gave him a 11 point lead in the Silver Michelin Trophy category over second placed Faisal Binladen, with the first female driver to race in the championship, Denmark's Christina Nielsen, in third place on 51 points.

Saudi Falcons' Abdulaziz AlFaisal produced two stunning performances to make it a memorable weekend for him as he won Rounds 3 and 4.

The reigning champion was never in danger in both races as he held off the challenges of Al Nabooda Racing duo of Clemens Schmid and Karim Al-Azhari.

Qatar's Al Thani followed Ashkanani' s lead in Round 4 with his first podium finish in the championship, claiming the position on the final lap in Round 4 from Al-Azhari.

Season 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East continues in the United Arab Emirates with Rounds 5 and 6 scheduled to take place at the Dubai Autodrome on the 13th and 14th December 2012.

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