The final weekend of the fourth season in the leading one-make series in the region, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, is set for a gripping finish in the Team Title category as the Middle East’s most promising drivers head to the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) for Rounds 11 and 12 on 22nd and 23rd March 2013.
The newly installed award for the 2012/13 season has added a fresh dimension to the competition, in the closest fought season in the history of the championship. Dubai-based Al Nabooda racing, featuring current championship leader Clemens Schmid and third placed Karim Al-Azhari go into the final weekend 29 points clear of nearest rivals Saudi Falcons with 408 points.
Al Nabooda Racing have held the ascendency in the standings thanks to performances of Schmid and Al-Azhari. Schmid has won the last six races outright, and eight of the 10 rounds raced so far, while Dubai-based Al-Azhari has produced consistent performances, as he held onto third place all season to put their team on the verge of the title.
Walter Lechner, Manager of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said: “The Team Title has added fresh competition to the championship and has lived up to our expectations when we introduced it at the beginning of the season. All the drivers have been pushing for valuable points for their team and as we approach the final weekend, it will be just as exciting a contest as the individual championship battle.”
“Al Nabooda have been leading in the category throughout the season and will be looking to cross the line and get the rewards for the whole season. But Saudi Falcons have two outstanding drivers who are capable of overhauling the points, so it will be a fantastic contest,” added Lechner.
Karim Al-Azhari believes it will be the perfect season if Al Nabooda win the Team Title category. Speaking ahead of the Bahrain rounds, he said: “The Team Title was our main priority this season and we are in good position going into the final weekend. We need to keep our composure and make do not make any elementary mistakes. Winning the Team title would round off a perfect season.”
Saudi Falcons duo of Abdulaziz AlFaisal and Faisal Binladen will be looking to round off the season by overhauling the gap between themselves and the leaders. Currently on 379 points, the Saudi outfit have never led the division despite the best efforts of the duo.
Faisal Binladen is optimistic the team can leapfrog their opponents and win the inaugural trophy. Binladen said: “We have been second throughout the season, but what matters is where we finish at the end of the season. Myself and Abdulaziz have to forget about what has happened in the previous rounds and give our all on the final weekend. We have two rounds to race and anything can happen. We will be pushing Al Nabooda all the way until it is impossible to win.”
Team Bahrain have held their own in the classification, while not threatening the top two. Currently on 311 points, they trail Al Nabooda Racing by 97 points as they look to put on a good show on home soil.