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HomeWinner at National Racing Festival in BIC

Winner at National Racing Festival in BIC

Cullen wins Porsche race as Schmidt secures drivers’ title at National Racing Festival in BIC

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Ryan Cullen won the season-ending race in the 2015/2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, held as part of National Racing Festival (NRF) at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.

Cullen completed the 12-lap sprint in 25 minutes 20.111 seconds to claim his second victory of the season.

Cullen was among five race winners on the day at the NRF. The others were Shaikh Salman bin Isa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa and Alex Longden in the BIC 2,000cc Challenge, Mishal Alneaimi in the Bahrain Superbike Championship (BSBK), and Chris Rabie in the Bahrain Motorcycle Racing (BMR) 600. Alneaimi and Rabie both had doubles.

In the Porsche GT3 Cup championship decider, Cullen took the chequered flag 3.400 seconds ahead of runner-up Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal. Charlie Frijns completed the podium placers 7.307s back.

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Meanwhile, Jeffrey Schmidt of the UAE secured the drivers’ title after finishing in fifth place. He was 13.692s behind Cullen.

“It’s always a great feeling when you win a championship,” Schmidt said. “It has felt like a long winter, 12 races over the last four months and throughout the season the competition has got tougher and tougher.

“I had a strong start to the season and took a good lead early on, which allowed me to have the luxury of not having to win here today to take the title. It’s always nice to come first but the overall goal was more important.”

Schmidt’s chief rival for the crown, Zaid Ashkanani of Kuwait, finished the race in seventh position 17.925s from first. Ashkanani headed into the finale with just an outside chance of stealing away the glory from his Al Nabooda Racing teammate.

Al Nabooda won the season’s Teams Championship to go along with Schmidt’s success.

The top three overall for today’s race were also the best drivers in the Gold class, In the Silver category, Wolfgang Triller clinched first place ahead of Prince Saud Al Faisal. Magnus Ohman followed suit in the Bronze, where Rob Frijns was second and Team Bahrain’s Shaikh Jaber bin Ali Al Khalifa third. Shaikh Jaber managed to claim his division title with his classification.

“I am very happy with my performance,” said Shaikh Jaber. “The plan was to start and finish today and not take any risks that could potentially harm my chances of winning the category title here. I enjoyed the race today and felt it was one of my strongest performances this season.”

In the BIC 2,000cc Challenge, which was holding its sixth round this season, Longden claimed the opening sprint in a total race time of 16:04.757 in his BMW 3 Series/F20C.

Shaikh Salman was a close runner-up 0.389s adrift, while Raed Himmo finished in third place 5.100s back. Both Shaikh Salman and Himmo were competing in Honda CIVIC cars.

Shaikh Salman bounced back to claim the win in race two. He completed the event in 16:09.637, a narrow 0.953s ahead of Longden. Hussain Karimi in a Honda CRX claimed third place 1.513s back.

In the BSBK, Alneaimi led the same trio onto the podium for both races to cap the season’s third round.

Alneaimi won race one in 12:59.056. Fahad Alsuwaidi was a distant runner-up 15.839s behind, while Ali Alshammari rounded out the podium placers 22.677s back.

In race two, Alneaimi continued his dominance and won in 13:00.643, well ahead once again of a trailing Alsuwaidi who was 9.330s behind. Alshammari finished third 24.257s adrift.

Alneaimi’s double made it six straight wins for the Qatari this season, in what is the maiden campaign of the one-make championship of Ducati Panigale 899 super bikes.

In the season-opening round of the BMR 600, Rabie clinched an impressive double.

The six-rider field competed in identical Honda Hornet 600cc bikes.

Rabie finished race one in 14:48.927. He was 2.714s ahead of runner-up T0im Attwood, while John Beddall was third 3.526s adrift.

In race two, Rabie completed his double in a quicker 14:30.301. Beddall and Attwood were once again on the podium. Beddall was 1.558 back whereas Attwood was a further one-hundredth-of-a-second back.

At the end of the racing, the winners were presented their respective trophies in a podium ceremony. BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa was present to give away the awards.

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