The newly installed Team title category has added a new incentive and extra edge to the competition in the fourth season of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
The newly installed award for the 2012/13 season has already made a big difference to the competition with drivers throughout the grid jostling for position to finish as quick as possible in every race.
With five teams battling for supremacy, Dubai based Al Nabooda Racing are currently on 225 points, with a marginal 20 point lead over Saudi Falcons, led by reigning champion Abdulaziz AlFaisal. Team Bahrain have also held their own in the competition with two young drivers in their ranks. Mohammed Mattar and Raed Raffii, with the help of 2011 champion, Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, have compiled 202 points, with Frijns Structural Steel ME and Qatar Gebhardt GT in fourth and fifth respectively.
Walter Lechner, Manager of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said: “We wanted to add extra spice to the championship and make sure everyone fights to the very end. It means every driver is fighting for every available point and putting emphasis on the team’s performance as well as the individuals. From the first six rounds of the season we have already seen how every driver is fighting to finish the race as fast as they can to gain the maximum points for the team.”
“Three teams are currently in contention for the title, with Al Nabooda having a slight advantage going into the second half of the season. But as with the drivers’ championship, I believe the team title will also go right down to the wire,” added Lechner.
Al Nabooda Racing have held the ascendency in the standings thanks to the performances of Clemens Schmid and UAE’s Karim Al-Azhari. Schmid, who is only 12 points behind AlFaisal in the overall drivers’ standings has won four of the six rounds completed, collecting maximum points in the process. Meanwhile Al-Azhari, who is third on the drivers’ standings, has collected two podium positions.
Karim Al-Azhari said: “The team title is a fantastic addition to the championship and it has put extra pressure on all the drivers. This has been the most competitive season yet with so many great drivers on the grid. The team title is Al Nabooda’s main objective and myself and Clemens will be fighting hard to win the inaugural title.”
“Saudi Falcons and Team Bahrain have put us under extreme pressure so far and we expect them to come back fighting. We have a slender lead going into the second half of the season with everything to play for and knowing that the next six rounds are taking place on the other side of the Gulf after our home rounds, we have to work very hard and remain 100% focused to maintain our lead,” added Al-Azhari.
With the Rounds 7 and 8 to be held at the Reem International Circuit in February, AlFaisal and team-mate Faisal Binladen will be looking for home advantage to propel Saudi Falcons to the top of the standings.
With many fans looking at the drivers championship as the only recognised award, AlFaisal said both the drivers and team title carry equal weight for the team, even if they don’t with the fans.
With the team title and drivers’ standings too close to call, the 2012/13 season is perfectly positioned for a grand finale with six rounds to go.
The series returns for Rounds 7 and 8 at the Reem International Circuit, Saudi Arabia on the 6th and 7th February.