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Al Nabooda Racing eye flying start in Porsche GT3 Cup double title defenceSchmid, Al Azhari sharp and ready as Middle East’s top race series heads for new season curtain raiser in Bahrain

Confidence is high in the Al Nabooda Racing camp heading into the 2013-14 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East as the region’s premier motor racing series returns to Bahrain International Circuit later this month for the first of six double race weekends.

Sharp and eager as a result of busy race programmes in Europe over the last few months, Clemens Schmid and Karim Al Azhari are aiming for a repeat of their flying start to the 2012-13 campaign when the Dubai outfit begin their double title defence on 29-30 November.

Schmid won both of last season’s opening two rounds in Bahrain, and in partnership with Al Azhari also took Al Nabooda Racing to team honours.

It was a sign of things to come, as Schmid went on to claim seven out of 12 race victories on his way to the Porsche GT3 Cup drivers’ title, and along with Al Azhari brought the team championship back to Dubai for the first time.

The two drivers will take the wheel of identical brand new 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Cars when the one-make series enters its fourth season in Bahrain, and both want to extend their dominance of the series to a second campaign.

Schmid already has extensive experience of the new GT3 Cup car, having driven the more powerful variant in the 2013 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup series, which culminated at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit last weekend.

Al Azhari has also benefitted from tough competitive experience in Europe in recent months, and is eager for a return to action in Bahrain where he cemented his third place overall in last season’s GT3 Cup by winning the final round.

Vijay Rao, Al Nabooda Racing team manager, said: “Last season was a brilliant one for us, and we’ve set very high standards for ourselves. It won’t be easy to retain our two titles, but we’re going to work even harder this time because that’s our target.

“Clemens and Karim have both been very active in Europe during the Middle East close season. They’re sharp, eager, and very focused on the new season ahead, and as a team we’re preparing very thoroughly to make sure we’re 100 per cent ready for the first two rounds in Bahrain.”

Bahrain International Circuit, where the 12-round Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East was launched in December 2009, will have a big bearing on the 2013-14 title race as it also stages the final two rounds next March.

After this month’s season opener, the GT3 Cup series heads for Rounds 3 and 4 at Dubai Autodrome on 12-13 December, before reaching the half way point at Losail International Circuit in Qatar on 17-18 January 2014.

11/6/2013