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Al Nabooda’s Schmid brilliant in Bahrain

Austrian wins first two races of new Porsche GT3 Cup season

Image Credit: Jorge Ferrari
Clemens Schmid, of Al Nabooda Racing (centre) left Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa (right) and Abdul Aziz Al Faisal in hiswake in the second race.
Gulf News

Dubai: Clemens Schmid of Al Nabooda Racing secured a second successive victory on the opening weekend of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) on Sunday.

After winning the first race the day before, Schmid again qualified on pole for race two and 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.

Schmid dominated from start to finish, maintaining first position throughout and without being seriously threatened. He took his overall lead in the championship to six points over Al Faisal by collecting two wins and 40 points on the opening weekend.

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.”

There was a real battle behind Schmid 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 Bin Laden fifth after holding off a spirited challenge from Kuwaiti teenager Zaid Ashkanani. Debutant Mohammad Mattar of Bahrain claimed a creditable seventh, while the first woman to race in the series, Christina Nielsen, was eighth.

The weekend’s first race saw pole-sitter Schmid lose the lead on lap one, only to regain it on the ninth lap and hold off Al Faisal and Al Nabooda teammate Al-Azhari for victory.

Rounds three and four will take place at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on December 7 and 8.