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Ashkanani welcomes Qatar racing star to Porsche GT3 Cup Round 4 of region’s leading series kicks off

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 31: Kuwait’s rising star Zaid Ashkanani has welcomed the presence and added competition of Qatar racing legend Nasser bin Saleh Al Attiyah, who is set to make his series debut for Team QMMF (Qatar Motor & Motorcycling Federation) in Round 4 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle on home territory at the Losail International Circuit this weekend.

The teenager who currently sits second in the championship table is looking forward to the added challenge and gaining knowledge from the world-renowned Qatari rally driver. Speaking ahead of Round 4 in Qatar, Ashkanani said: “To have a motorsport hero such as Al Attiyah participating in the series just shows how special a championship we now have in the Middle East. He is one of the most recognised individuals in the world rally scene and he will provide extra competition and I personally look forward to the battle. I am at an important stage of my career when I really need to keep developing and I hope to grasp every opportunity I have to get driving tips off him and any advice I can.”

An all-round sporting talent who won bronze in the men’s skeet event at the London Olympics in 2012 and has competed in five Olympic Games, Al Attiyah is set to test himself for the first time in a Porsche adding to his successful career in rally driving. The Qatari is a Dakar Rally champion and recently finished third in the annual off-road endurance race as well as a nine-time FIA Middle East Rally Championship winner. In his first outing in the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Al Attiyah recorded respectable times around the Losail International Circuit, but is adamant that he will improve his time as he adjusts to the Porsche and the whole new concept of driving.

Looking forward to his first competitive action on home territory, Al Attiyah said: “I would like to thank QMMF for the opportunity. It is a great feeling to be associated with this leading series and it will be a totally different challenge for me. All my life I have competed in rally and have won many championships and the greatest rally race of them all, the arduous Dakar rally. But this will be a totally different challenge, it is the leading series in the region, with quality drivers competing, so I am looking forward to it and testing myself against the best.”

The previous round under the lights saw the region’s leading drivers encounter tough conditions in Qatar as it heads towards the business end of the season where every points counts. Reigning champion Clemens Schmid of Al Nabooda Racing, currently leads the championship by 27 points, will be targeting two victories as he closes in on his second title. Ashkanani is looking forward to Round 4 and carrying on from Round 3 where he picked up maximum points in Race 2 and is relishing the challenge of competing for top spot against Schmid.

He added: “I have been very consistent this season and have enjoyed the challenge of battling with Schmid. There is still a long way to go and I need to continue with this momentum till the final race and see where we are at. I have improved considerably this term but I still need to keep improving.” For the full race schedule, driver profiles or latest news on GT Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East please visit the official website: www.gt3cupchallenge-me.com or follow series’ news at www.facebook.com/porscheGT3CCME or on Twitter @PorscheGT3CCME.

Overall Championship StandingsOverall championship standings after Round 3:
    Name    Country    Team    Points
1st    Clemens Schmid    Austria    Al Nabooda Racing    146
2nd    Zaid Ashkanani    Kuwait    BuzaidGT    119
3rd    Abdulaziz AlFaisal    KSA    Saudi Falcons    112
4th    Hasher Al Maktoum    UAE    Skydive Dubai Falcons    103
5th    Karim Al-Azhari    UAE    Al Nabooda Racing    99
6th    Saeed Al Mehairi    UAE    Skydive Dubai Falcons    79
 

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