(MENAFN - Arab News) After a seven-week winter break, the Middle East's leading one-make series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, returns to the scene for rounds 7 and 8 at the Reem International Circuit in Riyadh, with Abdulaziz Al-Faisal looking to break away from the field in his quest for an unprecedented third championship.
The Saudi Falcons driver leads the championship standings with 140 points, a marginal 12-point lead against his closest rival, Al Nabooda Racing's Clemens Schmid, followed by UAE's Karim Al-Azhari on 117 points.
Al-Faisal will be looking to take full advantage of home territory where he has an almost impeccable record and move a step closer to a third title in four years.
Al-Faisal has won seven out of 10 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East races staged at Reem over the past three seasons, proving almost unbeatable on the twisting track set against the background of rolling sandy hills.
Al-Faisal is banking on the expected 15,000 home supporters to help him cross the line first and extend his lead over Austrian Schmid.
Speaking ahead of practice, he said: "Home advantage will only count if I win both rounds, until then it does not come into the equation. Coming on the back of two second place finishes, it's important we capitalize on the opportunities available at Reem. I have an almost perfect record here and I will look to maintain that if I want to win the championship." "We're at half way stage only so it is too soon to think about the title just yet,. I have an exceptional competitor in Schmid putting pressure on me throughout the season," added Al-Faisal.
Al-Faisal' s teammate, Faisal Binladen, is hoping for a quick improvement in the second half of the season as he looks to move up the table and also help the reigning champion in the team title category.
Binladen is currently in fifth position in the overall championship standings with 85 points, and second in the Silver Michelin category, behind Kuwait's Zaid Ashkanani.
He added: "Driving on my own home circuit is always a special feeling. I want to give them something to cheer about and improve my performances. I need to move up the table and try and move into the top three or four position. It is also important as far as the team title is concerned. Abdulaziz and I need to collect as many points as possible and not let Al Nabooda move away from us." The team title category is just as tight as the overall championship standings with Al Nabooda Racing leading with 245 points, a 20-point lead over Saudi Falcons. Team Bahrain is in third place on 202 points.