A point to prove.
History repeats itself.
A slip between the cup and the lip.
It’s never too late.
I can think of many aphorisms or adages that could well become the title of this piece on the finals of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. A suitably dramatic final race of season five of the single brand series in the Middle East saw Al Nabooda Racing win the series’ team title yet again, after Clemens Schmid secured a comfortable victory in Race 2 of Round 6 at Bahrain International Circuit.
So history was repeating itself for the winning team.
However, Clemens Schmid required a gap of three places in the final race between himself and Zaid Ashkanani of Kuwait, who led the series five points ahead of Schmid. When the Kuwaiti finished third, despite scraping out maximum points from the final race, Schmid lost his indvidual title to Ashkanani… by just one point. The slip that cost him the cup!
Entering late into the series, fellow UAE team Skydive Dubai Falcons had proved themselves worthy opponents with upsets marking their earlier round in Dubai. In the Race 2, whilst Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum couldn’t, his teammate Saeed Al Mehairi drove with confidence to finish sixth after starting eighth. The Skydive Dubai team finished a very respectable third overall while both drivers ended up with a joint fifth in the drivers’ title race. It’s never too late to storm in and steal a race, looks like!
Race 2 in Round 6 was interrupted after the initial start following an on-track incident and began with rolling start where Schmid held pole and Ashkanani fifth. Schmid made full use of his advantage to extend the gap between himself and the rest of field to win Race 2 by 4.393 seconds. At the mid-point of the race, Ashkanani, Al-Azhari and AlFaisal were neck-and-neck going into the first corner and the decisive moment of the race was to unfold. The Kuwaiti teenager was sandwiched between his adversaries but kept his composure to break free and take full control of third and the challenge title.
TEAM RESULTS: Al Nabooda Racing of UAE finished first with 426 points, far ahead of the runners-up Saudi Falcons with 361 points and the Skydive Dubai Falcons finishing just two points behind them.
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: Zaid Ashkanani of Buzaid GT (Kuwait) finished first with 245 points in the Gold Category overall challenge standings, with Clemens Schmid of Al Nabooda Racing (UAE) on a close second (244) and Abdulaziz AlFaisal of Saudi Falcons (KSA) flanking the remaining podium place (224).
For the full race schedule or driver profiles: www.gt3cupchallenge-me.com