MANAMA: Clemens Schmid of Al Nabooda Racing secured a memorable weekend with yet another victory on Saturday in second round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).
His faultless performance saw him win both races in the opening weekend of the season.
After securing his second pole position in two days, the 22-year-old Austrian collected maximum points, despite the best efforts of Bahrain’s Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, who finished second and Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al Faisal in third.
Following his victory by 8.133 seconds Schmid said: “It has been a perfect week for me and Al Nabooda to get maximum points from both rounds.
In the next race rounds at Yas Marina Abu Dhabi we have to keep the same strategy to continue on our winning ways. Yas is one of my favourite circuits, so I am confident I can repeat my performances.”
Schmid dominated from start to finish maintaining first position throughout, without being seriously threatened. He managed take his overall lead in the championship to six points over Faisal, by collecting two wins and forty points on the opening weekend.
In the fight for second position between the two former champions, the first corner proved crucial. Khalifa showed all the skill, courage and local knowledge needed to slip past reigning champion Faisal, before extending a sizable lead of 10:875 seconds for a comfortable finish. Second placed Al Khalifa, who only returned to racing following a year absence said: “It is an amazing feeling getting onto the podium. I am very happy with my race. First position would have been great but Clemens produced a faultless race.”
Third placed Faisal looked back at Round 2 commenting: “Clemens was simply better than me over the weekend and Salman produced a good performance to finish in second. We will have to look at our strategy for Yas, but I have a good record there and I am confident things will improve.”
Despite a straight-forward win for Schmid, the real battle was to fill the rest of the top six positions.
UAE and Al Nabooda Racing’s Karim Al Azhari finished fourth, with Saudi Arabia’s Faisal Binladen taking fifth, by holding off a spirited challenge from the hugely talented Kuwaiti teenager Zaid Ashkanani who finished sixth.
Bahrain’s Mohammed Mattar, who made his debut in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East today, claimed a credible seventh position.
The first female to ever race in the series, Christina Nielsen, secured eighth position.
A determined Binladen, who improved upon his opening round by two positions to cross the line in fifth, said: “Today was a tough race. Zaid and I were neck and neck through most of the race. He was behind me and we were literally almost touching throughout the race.