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Clemens Schmid leads the field around in the opening lap of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race at Dubai Motordrome on Friday.
Clemens Schmid leads the field around in the opening lap of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race at Dubai Motordrome on Friday.

Clemens Schmid goes pole to post for win in Porsche GT3 Cup

It took a 'perfect car' and no mistakes for Clemens Schmid to hold off Abdulaziz Al Faisal in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race at Dubai Motordrome.


DUBAI // Clemens Schmid held off Abdulaziz Al Faisal on Friday to secure his second Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East victory of the weekend at the Dubai Motordrome.

Schmid, 22, started on pole and hardly made a mistake in 10 laps of the course. The Al Nabooda Racing driver needed to be nearly perfect to beat Al Faisal into second by 0.262 seconds.

Karim Al Azhari, also of the Dubai-based Al Nabooda Racing, was third.

Schmid said the victory was far more difficult than his drive to the chequered flag on Thursday.

"Abdulaziz was always in my slip stream," he said. "The car was perfect and I just focused on not making any mistakes. That was real racing and it came down to the wire.

"That's what I love about the series; it's all down to the driver. I'm pleased to get two wins here, but I'll need to keep pushing."

After six races of the 12-round single-make season, Al Faisal leads the championship race with 140 points. The Saudi Falcons driver is 12 points ahead of Schmid and 23 ahead of Al Azhari. After the winter break, the series goes to Saudi Arabia for a pair of races at the Reem International Circuit in Riyadh on February 6-7.

Al Faisal was runner-up both days in Dubai, but he could hardly fault himself.

"Clemens did not give me a chance throughout the weekend," he said. "He gave one of his best performances of the season. But I am happy with the way we set up. The main advantage for Clemens was starting on pole position.

"Importantly, I'm still ahead in the championship. I will continue to fight really hard, and next up is my home race weekend at Reem. So there is a lot to be positive about."

Al Azhari was pleased to finish third. The day before, he was penalised for jump-starting on the grid, and his third-place finish turned into a seventh after a 20-second time penalty was assessed.

"One again, it was tough and difficult to separate the top two," the Emirati said.

"But I am happy to have made up for my error yesterday, collect crucial points for my team and give us a comfortable lead over Saudi Falcons in the team title category."

Bander Alesayi, the championship runner-up last season, finished fourth, just ahead of the Kuwaiti 18-year-old Zaid Ashkanani.

Mohammed Mattar of Team Bahrain started 13th but fought his way forward to a sixth-place finish.

Christina Nielsen, a Dane who is the only woman in the competition, was seventh, and said she felt like she is settling into the series.

"I've learnt a lot this weekend, especially on the track and about myself," she said. "Obviously, every race weekend is like a debut, as I've never raced out in the Middle East, but I can take something away from each race.

"For me, the championship is all about experience and that's what I'm gaining, so overall I'm pleased. I could have finished higher but racing isn't always fair and I accept that.

"I remain confident and I feel I'm earning the respect of the other drivers."



DUBAI // Costas Papantonis reeled off three consecutive victories in his Gulf Petrochem SEAT during the NGK Racing Series, one of the several competitions staged over two days at the busy Dubai Motorsports Festival.

Keith Wake, in the Phoenix Motorsport Opel, pursued Papantonis in each race, but the former champion was just a bit too good.

"We had some issues with the car but we sorted that out, so I am very pleased to take the points," Papantonis said.

Rupesh Channake, in the NGK Racing Series Class 2, also won three times over two days.

The Clio Cup was tightly contested by a quartet of drivers but Ramzi Moutran got the best of it with two victories in his Renault yesterday to go with a runner-up finish on Thursday.

Alexandros Annivas, the winner on Thursday, was second twice on Friday.

Vladimir Ivanoff, competing in the UAE for the first time, powered to overall and class victories in the Motorcity UAE Sportsbike Championship races. The second race was stopped on the third lap when Nasir Hussein Syed crashed. He was taken to Rashid Hospital as a precaution.

Surya Raja won the 600 Class race on a Yamaha, and Mahmoud Tannir won the shortened second race on his Duseja Moto Triumph.

Natasha Seater, from Malaysia, won in the Formula Gulf 1000 class on Thursday and rang up another victory yesterday, ahead of Nick Canal and Rahul Mayer.

Edwards Jones, running in the Radical Winter Cup, also won twice.

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