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Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East organiser Walter Lechner believes that Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Mehairi are quite capable of getting on the podium at Dubai Autodrome this weekend.

On the grid for Rounds 3 and 4 of the challenge will be two Dubai teams – Skydive Dubai Falcons who have Al Maktoum and Al Mehairi in their line-up, and Al Nabooda Racing with multiple UAE champion Karim Al Azhari and championship leader Clemens Schimd.

Lechner said: “I followed Sheikh Hasher when he was in Speedcar and he did very well there. First as team-mate to David Terrien and then team-mate with Jean Alesi. He showed his talent, and actually when we started the Porsche Challenge we wanted to get him to compete. It took some time to get him with us.”

Al Maktoum got his inaugural campaign off to a great start after coming tops in a battle with last season’s runner-up Abdulaziz Al Faisal of the Saudi Falcons and Germany’s Hubert Haupt to finish third in race two in Bahrain late last month.

Lechner added: “This championship is getting stronger every year, with top talent from the region and also Europe. I knew Hasher’s potential but, getting on the podium by sheer driving ability not just people falling off the track or retirments, was a great achievement.

“We have two teams of four drivers who call this race at Dubai Autodrome their ‘home race’. We have the defending champions – Al Nabooda Racing and now the Sky Dive Dubai Falcons boys.”

Racing at one’s home track can work in two ways – give a driver an extra edge or play against them as the pressure to perform is augmented.

Lechner said: “It’s easy to advice Hasher and Saeed how they should perform on their home track. They are intelligent drivers, they know what to do, they know what to expect on track because they have raced many times.

"Sheikh Hasher in particular has done big races here at Dubai Autodrome. They both do a lot of karting which is very good for their fitness, especially the 24 hours endurance races. I know they will do a good job.”

The first of two races is scheduled for 16:50 on Thursday, with Race 2 qualifying at 11:40 on Friday, followed by the second race at 16:45.

Also featuring on Friday are rounds of the UAE Sportbike Championship, NGK Racing Series and the Radical Cup Middle East.

Entry for spectators is free.


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