Schmid backs Al Nabooda Racing teammate Al Harthy to do well in Dubai

The 2012/13 champion converted two pole positions into race wins last month in Bahrain in the opening round of the season, but his teammate did not fare so well.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East: Drivers set sights on Dubai Autodrome for Round 2.Courtesy HK Strategies
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East: Drivers set sights on Dubai Autodrome for Round 2.Courtesy HK Strategies

The championship leader Clemens Schmid backed Al Nabooda Racing teammate Ahmed Al Harthy to get results this weekend as the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East returns to the Dubai Autodrome for Rounds 3 and 4.

Schmid, the 2012/13 champion, converted two pole positions into race wins last month in Bahrain in the opening round of the season, but his teammate did not fare so well.

Making his debut at the Bahrain International Circuit, Al Harthy was involved in a first-round collision that put him out of the race and led to a penalty that dropped him to the back of the grid 24 hours later.

He climbed back to finish sixth, leaving his team joint-second in the team championship as they bid for a third successive team title.

“To win the first two races of the season was really great for me, and while Ahmed had some problems in the first race, he produced an incredibly good performance in the next round, and in Dubai he will be stronger for sure,” Schmid said.

“He didn’t drive a GT3 Cup car for two years and needs more time to get to know it again. But he’s really focused, pushing hard, and I’m glad to have him as a teammate.”

Al Harthy, meanwhile, is putting his difficult start behind him.

“Looking back, I think the penalty was harsh, but we just accepted it because it’s in the spirit of the sport to abide by the rules,“ he said.

“Now I’m not thinking of Bahrain, I’m just looking forward to Dubai. The Autodrome is a more technical, tighter circuit, and I hope it suits us as a team. I certainly enjoy technical circuits. Competition in the series is definitely tougher now, and this is a very strong championship, but we’re feeling good.

“It’s normal for a team to come under a little more pressure when you’re competing at your home circuit, but once the lights go out and the race begins, we don’t think of things like that.”

To highlight the competition Al Nabooda are facing, they are tied in the team standings with Skydive Dubai Falcons, who are represented by the Emirati duo Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi on their home circuit, with Al Maktoum third in the standings.

Sheikh Hasher was the second-quickest during testing and was looking forward to the homecoming week.

“This is a brilliant circuit and one we are familiar with, so I’m looking forward to racing,” he said. “It does feel like a home race and we are well-prepared to do Dubai proud.

“We’ve had a solid start to the season and have something to build on.”

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Published: December 5, 2014 04:00 AM

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