The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East returns to Qatar under the lights for two night races and Round 3 of the most professional racing series in the region at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on 17 and 18 January 2014.

The fifth edition of the series has seen race action as the region’s leading drivers battle for supremacy. After two absorbing encounters in Dubai in Round 2, all eyes will be on the battle at the top of the table where Clemens Schmid leads by 24 points.

As drivers reach the half-way stage of the season, focus turns to the exciting night time races at the stunning Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar which has hosted the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East for the last two years.

Walter Lechner, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, said:

The Losail International Circuit provides a different challenge for the drivers under the lights and tests even the most experienced of drivers. With the series at the half-way stage, it promises to be another second half where the pressure will increase all the drivers as they look to produce their best in every race…In the last round in Dubai with saw a lot of drama, action and incredible racing, especially Race 2 which was decided on the last turn. I anticipate the same intensity in Qatar with everything to play for in the individual and team standings.’

Reigning champion Schmid has been in sensational form as he looks to defend his title. With a hat-trick of wins in the first three races of the season, his run was curtailed in Race 2 of Round 2 by the impressive Zaid Ashkanani.

Schmid battled valiantly on home territory at the Dubai Autodrome with one victory and a second place finish to go into the winter break at the top of the table. Race 2 in Dubai saw him go head-to-head with Kuwait’s Zaid Ashkanani in the season’s most action-packed race, with the Kuwaiti teenager holding his advantage despite huge pressure on the final lap.

Looking forward to Qatar where he won both races last season, Schmid said:

I have a good record at Losail and I will be looking to repeat my performances. It is always tough with it being a night race but to be the best you have to encounter and overcome every challenge. It has been a remarkable season with a tough grid and you cannot predict any race.’

Building on from his debut season, Ashkanani has stepped up the pace to justify the tag as one of the most promising talents in the region and a future champion of the series. The teenager has backed his talent with results and is now in the running to push Schmid in the championship race.

Ashkanani has built on the promise he showed last season with two runner-up spots already this term. Currently sitting third in the standings, the Kuwaiti teenager is hoping for a perfect weekend. Ashkanani said:

I have to back up the result in Dubai and continue with the momentum. But I am aware Schmid will be hunting me down this time and will want to get back to winning ways, but that is the beauty of motorsport. You are never quite sure what to expect and you cannot separate the top six. It is so tight and competitive.’

Fresh from his exploits in the Dubai 24 Hours race, Abdulaziz AlFaisal, who claimed his first podium of the season in Race 2 at the Dubai Autodrome, is 28-points behind nemesis Clemens Schmid and will be hoping for a near-perfect weekend if he is to close the gap on the Al Nabooda driver. AlFaisal said:

It is one of the spectacular races of the season and one every driver looks forward to. I am in good condition and form and have the ability and confidence to challenge the top three and put myself in title contention. We have found a good set-up on the all-new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car and as we enter the business end of the season, we have to accelerate our title challenge.’

The series moves to Qatar with the Losail International Circuit hosting Round 3 on the 17th and 18th January 2014. Porsche motorsport fans can come along and watch the leading drivers from the region battle it out for free.