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Feb 24, 2014 - 02:40 PM
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Schmid Says Al Nabooda Racing Will Clinch Double Porsche GT3 Cup Triumph
Posted by: newsla on Feb 24, 2014 - 02:35 PM
Sports Cars
Schmid Says Al Nabooda Racing Will Clinch Double Porsche GT3 Cup Triumph


Reigning champion Clemens Schmid is confident that he can shrug off a personal setback in Dubai and lead Al Nabooda Racing to another double title triumph when the 2013-14 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East reaches its conclusion in Bahrain next month.

 

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Schmid and team-mate Karim Al Azhari have led the team championship ever since the young Austrian driver won both opening rounds of the current series at Bahrain International Circuit back in November.

They return to the venue for the final two rounds on 7-8 March holding a commanding 22-point lead over the Saudi Falcons, while Schmid is locked in an intriguing battle with Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani and Saudi’s two-times former champion, Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal, for the drivers’ crown.

"Karim and I are really confident that we will win the team championship again, and I also think that I can bounce back and retain the drivers title," said Schmid, who needs to wipe out the three-point advantage which Ashkanani holds over himself and Al Faisal.

"Zaid has the lead, but it’s very close and I don’t necessarily have to beat him to take the championship, just finish in front of him, and Abdulaziz, in both of the last two races.

"They’ll both be giving it everything they’ve got, but I feel good about Bahrain. Both Karim and I like the circuit because it suits our driving style.

Added Schmid: "We’re focused on making sure of the team title, which has been our priority since we came together for Al Nabooda Racing two years ago, and still is.

"Obviously, I want to hold on to the drivers’ championship after leading it for most of the season. I won the first two races in Bahrain this season by nearly ten seconds, and the pressure is really on Zaid because he has everything to lose."

Schmid held a 39-point lead going into the penultimate race weekend at Dubai Autodrome before two incidents in Round 9 put him out of that race while a penalty imposed by the race stewards kept him out of Round 10.

"It was very tough on Clemens after he had dominated the championship up to that pioint, winning six of the first eight races," said Vijay Rao, Team Manager of Al Nabooda Racing.

"In the first race in Dubai he lost a few positions after he and Prince Abdulaziz bumped into each other. In trying to regain those places he collided with Bandar Alesayi’s car and the impact caused it to flip."

"He accepted the penalty because he knew it was his mistake. But he makes very few of those, and we expect to him to be at his very best again in Bahrain, and help us bring the team and drivers titles back to Dubai."

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, team standings after 10 rounds:

1. Al Nabooda Racing 342pts

2. Saudi Falcons 320pts

3. SKY DIVE Dubai Falcons 310pts

4. Team Bahrain 213pts

5. BuZaid GT (KUW) 186pts

6. milon Racing (GER) 114pts

Drivers’ championship:

1. Zaid Ashkanani (KUW) 199pts

2. Clemens Schmid (Al Nabooda Racing)196pts

3. Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA) 196pts

4. Hasher Al Maktoum (UAE) 166pts

5. Karim Al Azhari (UAE) 150pts

6. Saeed Al Mehairi (UAE) 147pts

Captions:

1. Clemens Schmid - aiming for a big finish to the Porsche GT3 Cup series in Bahrain as Al Nabooda Racing look to secure another double success.

2. Schmid (right), team-mate Karim Al Azhari (left) and team manager Vijay Rao - looking to bring two titles back to Dubai for a second season in a row.

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