Brussels: Porsche 997 GT3R racer Ahmad Al Harthy couldn't contain his excitement following his first ever night-time qualifying experience at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on Thursday, during the build-up to the weekend's Total 24 Hours of Spa endurance race.
Marking yet another first for the ARC Bratislava-NBO Racing Team driver, the event provided his maiden run at the world-famous track and his competitive debut in a twice round-the-clock 24 Hour Race.
The night-time qualifying run was a personal highlight for his first day's running.
Partnering with regular Blancpain Endurance Series teammate Miro Konôpka for the lengthy 24 Hour encounter, Al Harthy was part of a driver line-up that has expanded to four competitors with Germany's Marco Schelp and Slovakia's Jan Raska joining the squad.
Posting the eighth-fastest time in the GTR Class during yesterday evening's opening qualifying run, thanks to Ahmad's best lap of 2m 27.220 seconds, the NBO Racing Team ended the day ninth in the GTR on combined times following the night session. "What an amazing experience qualifying was," said Ahmad.
"It was my first time ever in a racing car in the dark at night, and it's my first time at Spa too and my first ever 24 Hour race this weekend. To be able to drive this circuit is incredible. I've never done anything like that before. Everything has gone to plan so far. Since the four of us are run the car this weekend, there is very little track time during practice and qualifying, but we have kept improving."