KUWAIT CITY, April 6: Kuwaiti superstar and recent runner-up in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Season 7, Zaid Ashkanani has set his sights on even greater racing success after a strong performance in the Porsche support races at the Bahrain Grand Prix in the last few days.
The Middle East’s leading racers were back on the track for the special Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East showdown this past weekend, as the most professional series in the region took on the role of official support race for the 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
It was a sensational weekend of success for the Al Nabooda Racing duo of Ashkanani and Jeffrey Schmidt, the pair taking first and second in both of the races against a field which boast drivers from eleven countries, including host nation Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The racers enjoyed the motor sport experience of a lifetime competing across three categories and over the challenging 5.4km GP circuit at Sakhir, in front the region’s passionate fans and from behind the wheel of the stunning Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
For former Porsche GT3 Cup champion Zaid Ashkanani the weekend was another huge opportunity to showcase his skill on the biggest stage of all and against a gifted grid of Porsche drivers including a host of emerging regional talent and racing veterans. For Ashkanani the task at hand is now to take his exceptional season of performances in the Middle East into Europe this summer and he has high hopes of delivering similar results.
A huge opportunity for developing drivers, continental competitions such as the Porsche Supercup have been the breeding ground for future Porsche professional drivers. After excelling in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Ashkanani is hoping to continue his own career development and also demonstrate how fellow regional drivers can follow his path to success.
Speaking after the Bahrain F1 support race weekend, Zaid Ashkanani said: “The weekend went really well, I qualified in pole position for both races which was great for me as it was the first two poles of the season. Unfortunately I had a bad start to both races, I think there was a problem with the clutch and I just couldn’t pull away quick enough which saw me lose the lead. However I ended the race in a strong position so I am happy with that.
Racing at the formula one weekend is always a great experience, having the fans and the atmosphere is a great boost and gives the race weekend a different feel. I will be continuing my driving in Europe this summer and will be competing in the Porsche Supercup with Walter Lechner, I am looking forward to the challenge and coming out of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East I feel I am ready to achieve more great results.”
Giving regional drivers the opportunity to race on the world’s biggest motorsport stage, the F1 support race was a huge boost for local motorsport with some of the best regional drivers being given a rare chance to showcase their talents alongside the current stars of Formula One.
For the latest information on 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.
Meanwhile, after a record-breaking campaign in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, Al Nabooda Racing say they have surpassed their own high expectations set at the start of the team’s 10th anniversary season.
Jeffrey Schmidt and Zaid Ashkanani rounded off a hugely successful 2015-16 programme for the Dubai-based outfit with a dominant display in the two GT3 Cup races during the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix weekend.
“It has been a fantastic season, and the performance of Jeffrey and Zaid on the world stage in Bahrain was the icing on the cake,” said Al Nabooda Racing team manager Vijay Rao.
“We had very high expectations from the start of the season because we knew we had a winning combination of drivers, but they have performed even better than we could have hoped.”
Schmidt, the new Porsche GT3 Cup drivers’ champion after a record-equalling nine race victories, was in brilliant form again in Bahrain, winning both F1 support races.
Kuwaiti Ashkanani, whose partnership with the Swiss driver guided Al Nabooda Racing to the Porsche GT3 Cup team crown with two races to spare, finished runner up to him in both Bahrain races, as he did in the championship.
Al Nabooda Racing dominated the seventh edition of the Porsche GT3 Cup series from start to finish recording their third team championship success in four seasons.
They also became the first team to clinch the title with two races to spare and set a new record team championship tally of 505 pts in the process.
Their winning margin of 119pts over runners up Al Faisal Racing of Saudi Arabia was also a record, as was their total of ten race team wins out of 12.