OMAN’S AHMAD HELPS AL NABOODA STAY ON TOP

MUSCAT: Omani racer Ahmad al Harthy helped Al Nabooda Racing remain firmly at the top of the teams’ championship standings with a solid performance in the second race of round four of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar on Friday.

Round four represented the symbolic start of the second half of the season with the drivers once again being tested on the floodlit track in race two.

The second race finished with the same top three drivers on the podium as in Thursday’s race one, with Zaid Ashkanani winning the race.

Clemens Schmid finished second and Fahad Algosaibi of Classic Arabia came third.

Having started strongly in race one the previous night, Ahmad will count himself unlucky in qualifying as windy conditions seemed to have an adverse effect on the set-up of his car.

Despite the difficulties, the Omani driver was still in with a shout of a possible podium finish alongside Skydive Dubai Falcons’ UAE duo of Saeed al Mehairi and Hasher al Maktoum, who also posted similar timings in qualifying.

After starting strongly, Ahmad battled with Raed Raffii of Team Bahrain, but was unable to find the extra pace required to pass him.

Ahmad eventually finished eighth to help add more points to Al Nabooda Racing’s tally in the teams’ championship.

Ahmad said after the day’s action, “It wasn’t the best race for me, but to be contributing to my team’s points tally is a major factor. Today we kept our lead at the top of the competition, which is huge. Al Nabooda Racing has taken the title two years in a row and as we head to the next round in Dubai, UAE – Al Nabooda’s home ground – it’s a huge boost to be in front.”

Ahmad added, “I struggled in qualifying as we just didn’t get the set-up right with the car at all in this round. It could have been the conditions or maybe just a bit of bad luck. What’s most important is that we are making solid ground in the teams’ competition.”

The Muscat-based racer had played a crucial role in race one with an eighth-place finish to help Al Nabooda jump to the top of the teams’ standings while Ashkanani took the win ahead of Schmid.

Overall drivers’ standings [after round four]: 1 Clemens Schmid, Al Nabooda Racing (190 pts), 2 Zaid Ashkanani, BuzaidGT (184), 3 Saeed al Mehairi, Skydive Dubai Falcons (145), 4 Charlie Frijns, Team Frijns (137), 5 Hasher al Maktoum, Skydive Dubai Falcons (135), 6 Raed Raffii, Team Bahrain (113).

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY