Dubai: Karim Al Azhari, one of the UAE's most experienced racing drivers, says he can't wait for his debut in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East although he is expecting a difficult entry into the championship during the second half of the 2011-12 season.
Al Azhari will make his debut in the Porsche one-make series in Saudi Arabia next month when he takes over the driving duties for Dubai-based Al Nabooda Racing from Belgian Stephane Lemeret.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," said Al Azhari. "It's been a three-year wait for me since I knew the series was starting. Ever since then I've been eagerly anticipating my entry into the championship and I'm very excited about it.
"I've been close to Stephane who is a very experienced driver and I've seen that the GT3 Cup car is very technical. I will need to put in a lot of work to perfect my understanding of the car and become successful. It's definitely not going to be a walk in the park."
Run by Porsche Centre Dubai, Al Nabooda Automobiles, the authorised Porsche dealer in Dubai and Northern Emirates, Al Nabooda Racing chose former Belgian Touring Car champion Lemeret to launch its first tilt at the GT3 series.
After completing the first half of the 12-round championship, he now makes way for Al Azhari who takes the wheel of the team's GT3 Cup car for the first time in Rounds 7 and 8 taking place at Reem International Circuit, outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on February 15-16.
Vijay Rao, Team Manager of Al Nabooda Racing and General Manager, Porsche Centre Dubai, Al Nabooda Automobiles, said: "Karim has had a long and successful association with Al Nabooda Racing and we're now looking forward to achieving more great things together. We're grateful to Stephane Lemeret for lending us his great experience during the first half of the season, and Karim can build on what has been achieved so far."
Championship positions afterRound 6 (Top five)
1. Abdul Aziz Al Faisal (KSA) Saudi Falcons — 110pts
2. Bandar Alesayi (KSA) Saudi GT Racing — 102pts
3. Stephane Lemeret (BEL) Al Nabooda Racing — 86pts
4. Ahmad Al Harthy (OM) Oman Air Racing — 80pts
5. Saeed Al Mouri KSA) Saudi Falcons — 72pts