Double delight in Bahrain for victorious Schmid and Al Nabooda Racing in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East
Clemens Schmid of Al Nabooda Racing secured a memorable weekend with yet another victory today in Round 2 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC). His faultless performance today saw him win both races in the opening weekend of the season.
After securing his second pole position in two days, the 22-year-old Austrian collected maximum points, despite the best efforts of Bahrain's Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, who finished second and Saudi Arabia's Abdulaziz AlFaisal in third.
Following his victory by 8.133 seconds Schmid said: "It has been a perfect week for me and Al Nabooda to get maximum points from both rounds. In the next race rounds at Yas Marina Abu Dhabi we have to keep the same strategy to continue on our winning ways. Yas is one of my favourite circuits, so I am confident I can repeat my performances."
Schmid dominated from start to finish maintaining first position throughout, without being seriously threatened. He managed take his overall lead in the championship to six points over AlFaisal, by collecting two wins and forty points on the opening weekend.
In the fight for second position between the two former champions, the first corner proved crucial. Al Khalifa showed all the skill, courage and local knowledge needed to slip past reigning champion AlFaisal, before extending a sizable lead of 10:875 seconds for a comfortable finish.
Second placed Al Khalifa, who only returned to racing following a year absence said: "It is an amazing feeling getting onto the podium. I am very happy with my race. First position would have been great but Clemens produced a faultless race."
Third placed AlFaisal looked back at Round 2 commenting: "Clemens was simply better than me over the weekend and Salman produced a good performance to finish in second. We will have to look at our strategy for Yas, but I have a good record there and I am confident things will improve."
Despite a straight-forward win for Schmid, the real battle was to fill the rest of the top six positions. UAE and Al Nabooda Racing's Karim Al-Azhari finished fourth, with Saudi Arabia's Faisal Binladen taking fifth, by holding off a spirited challenge from the hugely talented Kuwaiti teenager Zaid Ashkanani who finished sixth. Bahrain's Mohammed Mattar, who made his debut in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East today, claimed a credible seventh position. The first female to ever race in the series, Christina Nielsen, secured eighth position.
A determined Binladen, who improved upon his opening round by two positions to cross the line in fifth, said: "Today was a tough race. Zaid and I were neck and neck through most of the race. He was behind me and we were literally almost touching throughout the race. Every time I looked behind me he was there. I had to fight and keep defending the whole time but it was a very good race and I'm happy with today's points. I'm starting to get more comfortable and I'm looking forward to the next rounds in Abu Dhabi and hopefully I can continue to do better with each race."
Round 2 action followed a thrilling opening round of the season which was also won by Schmid. After securing pole position, the Austrian produced a stunning race, after losing the lead in the opening lap; he regained it in the ninth lap to take maximum points, holding off the challenge from rivals Abdulaziz AlFaisal and Al Nabooda teammate Karim Al-Azhari in third.
Season 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East continues in the United Arab Emirates with Rounds 3 and 4 scheduled to take place at Yas Marina Circuit on the 7th and 8thDecember 2012.