SCHMID, AHMAD EAGER FOR NEXT QATAR GT3 TEST

Al Nabooda Racing is relishing a quick return to action in Qatar after a dominant display by Clemens Schmid at Losail International Circuit raised the team’s hopes of a third successive team title in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.

The defending champions have reached the half way point in the season with Schmid looking almost unbeatable in the race for the individual drivers’ crown and building a healthy partnership with Ahmad al Harthy.

After back-to-back-victories by Schmid in Qatar recently, Al Nabooda Racing has moved to within nine points of early leader Sky Dive Dubai Falcons and will be looking to pile the pressure back on at the Losail circuit in Rounds seven and eight on February 5-6.

“Five wins in six races is a brilliant performance by Clemens in view of how competitive the GT3 Cup series has become,” said team manager Vijay Rao.

“At times he looks in a class of his own, and what is equally impressive is the way he has worked with Ahmad to help him settle in after joining us at the start of the season.

“It’s never easy for a new driver coming into a championship like this, and there’s added pressure if you’re with the team which has set the pace for the last two seasons. But Ahmad has worked hard and will continue to get quicker as the season progresses.”

The next two races in the 12-round Porsche series have been brought forward a week from the original dates, and will both be run under lights.

Last weekend’s two races were the first GT3 Cup rounds to be held at the track in daylight, but regardless of the conditions, Schmid clearly enjoys the Losail circuit where he led Rounds five and six from start to finish from pole position.

After running wide in the first race Ahmad’s challenge was hindered by gravel collecting in his tyres, but he fought his way to eighth place and scored more valuable team points with seventh position 24 hours later.

Teams’ standings: 1 Sky Dive Dubai Falcons (UAE) 225 pts, 2 Al Nabooda Racing (UAE) 216 pts, 3 Team Bahrain (Bahrain) 127 pts, 4 Classic Arabia Racing (Saudi Arabia) 111 pts.

Drivers’ standings: 1 Clemens Schmid (144 pts), 2 Zaid Ashkanani (134), 3 Hasher al Maktoum (118), 4 Charlie Frijns (110), 5 Saeed al Mehairi (107), 6 Raed Raffii (82), 7 Wolfgang Triller (75), 8 Ahmad al Harthy (72).

SOURCE: Muscat Daily