Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Comes down to the final weekend in Bahrain – 1 day to go
This weekend the region’s leading drivers will line-up in one of the strongest grids in the history of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East for a championship showdown to conclude the fourth season at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).
With the titles across all categories at stake the Porsche drivers have completed the final day of testing as they familiarised themselves on the impressive 5.411 KM circuit ahead of Rounds 11 and 12 on the 22nd and 23rd March 2013.
Attention now turns to race day and Round 11 tomorrow with a number of intense head to head battles expected, including Al Nabooda Racings Clemens Schmid and Saudi Falcons reigning champion Abdulaziz AlFaisal in the overall standings.
Beyond the duel for the overall championship, the fight for the Silver Michelin category featuring rivals Faisal BinLaden of the Saudi Falcons and local Bahraini hero Mohammed Mattar of Team Bahrain is equally as intriguing, while Austria’s veteran racer Manfred Ender is seeking to secure the Bronze Mobil 1 category crown.
A festival of pure racing is expected across the two days and Porsche race enthusiasts are encouraged to enjoy the adrenaline fuelled action from the grandstands and witness a titanic championship battle from 2.00pm on both days.
Overall leader Schmid will be hoping to continue the fine form that has got him into the overall leading position. Finishing in the top three in both final rounds will be enough for the young Austrian to clinch his first championship. With 10-points separating the top-two, Abdulaziz has to finish first and hope his racing rival does not get onto the podium to win an unprecedented third title.
Walter Lechner, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Manager, said: “The fourth season has been full of passion and commitment and that will once again be demonstrated this weekend. Motorsport fans in Bahrain are in for a treat as we have many possibilities in all the categories and the championship set to go down to the final chequered flag.”
Schmid, who has been in the driving seat throughout the season, said after his final testing round at the BIC: “I feel in perfect condition to complete the task in hand this weekend. I have had good testing sessions on the Formula One circuit and the car feels good. I need to avoid making any mistakes and ultimately stay ahead of Abdulaziz. He is a quality driver who will not give up and will continue to put me under pressure as he has done throughout the season. But to be a champion, you have to handle these situations.”
Reigning champion Abdulaziz secured the title last with two rounds to go last season but will have to do it the hard way this year if he is to win an unprecedented third championship. His team-mate Faisal Binladen, who will look to secure the Silver Michelin category with a 15-point lead over home favourite Mohammed Mattar, believes AlFaisal has the talent and confidence to hold onto his crown.
Speaking after their final testing round, Binladen said: “Saudi Falcons are confident Abdulaziz can win the title this weekend. He has the quality and ability to overhaul a 10-point lead. It is a strong grid with great drivers and Schmid has been very fast this season, hence why he is in the lead. He will be taking it one round at a time and pushing Clemens all the way.”
Al Nabooda Racing will also be looking to complete a unique double this weekend, by also winning the Team Title category. They currently lead the standings 408 points, 29 points clear of main rivals, the Saudi Falcons. Team Bahrain are in third on 311 points.
With a truly international grid and the best line-up of drivers ever assembled in the history of the series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East ends its fourth season in spectacular fashion.