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Dec 11, 2013 - 06:58 AM
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Al Maktoum And Al Mehairi To Make Porsche GT3 Cup Debut On Home Track
Posted by: newsla on Dec 11, 2013 - 06:57 AM
Sports Cars
Sky Dive Dubai Falcons Drivers Al Maktoum And Al Mehairi To Make Porsche GT3 Cup Debut On Home Track

Walter Lechner, veteran race driver and organiser of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, believes that local heroes Sheikh Hassher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi are quite capable of visiting the Dubai Autodrome podium this weekend.


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The highly rated Porsche one make series is in Dubai for Round 3 and Round 4 of the championship, and on the grid will be two Dubai teams: Sky Dive Dubai Falcons who have Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi in their line-up, while Al Nabooda Racing have multiple UAE champion Karim Al Azhari and chaampionship leader Clemens Schimd int he cockpit of their blue, white and silver cars.

Speaking ahead of the weekend at Dubai Autodrome, Lechner explained, "I followed Sheikh Hasher when he was in Speedcar and he did very well there. First as teammate to David Terrien and then teammate with Jean Alesi. He showed his talent, and actually when we started the Porsche Challenge we wanted to get him to compete. It took some time to get him with us. But now we are very happy to have him and Saeed with the Sky Dive Dubai Falcons team in our series."

Al Maktoum got his inaugural campaign, in the 2013/2014 series, to a great start after coming tops in a battle with last season’s runner-up Abdulaziz AlFaisal of the Saudi Falcons and Germany’s Hubert Haupt to finish third in race two in Bahrain late last month.

Although Lechner was aware of Al Maktoum's abilities, he was nevertheless pleasantly surprised by the performance, "This championship is getting stronger every year, with top talent from the region and also Europe. I knew Hasher's potential but, getting on the podium by sheer driving ability not just people falling off the track or retirments, was a great achievement. Also for the Sky Dive Dubai Falcons team to be straight away on the podium is another big achievement."

The two Dubai teams departed Bahrain top of the standings, with Al Nabooda Racing topping the points standings, and they are set to duel it out on home tarmac.

"We have two teams of four drivers who call this race at Dubai Autodrome their 'home race' and for that reason we are racing here in Dubai this weekend and again next year as part of the 2013-2014 championship. We have the defending champions - Al Nabooda Racing - with Karim Al Azhari and Clemens Schmid in the team and of course now the Sky Dive Dubai Falcons boys," said Lechner.

In motorsport racing at one's home can work two ways: give a driver an extra edge or play against them as the pressure to perform is augmented.

Lechner pointed out, "It's easy to advise Hasher and Saeed how they should perform on their home track. They are intelligent drivers, they know what to do, they know what to expect on track because they have raced many times. Sheikh Hasher in particular has done big races here at Dubai Autodrome. They both do a lot of karting which is very good for their fitness, especially the 24 hours endurance races. I know they will do a good job."

"Sheikh Hasher got a podium in the first weekend of this edition of our championship in Bahrain which no one expected. So a podium at Dubai Autodrome is very possible," added the vastly experienced German motorsport man.

The first of two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge ME races - both on the International Circuit configuration - is scheduled for 16:50 pm on Thursday, with Race 2 qualifying at 11:40 am on Friday, followed by the second race of their weekend set to get underway at 16:45 pm. Each race is 14 laps, around 30 minutes of racing.

Also featured on Friday are rounds of the UAE Sportbike Championship, NGK Racing Series and the Radical Cup Middle East. Entry for spectators is free with access to grandstands and paddock.

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