Muscat: Ahmad Al Harthy says the Oman Racing Team powered by Motorbase is rightly confident ahead of the final race of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season at the Nurburgring, after the squad took its maiden Pro-Am pole position in a session badly affected by fog.
In the all-important final qualifying session at the German track, the No. 44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 was steered to an excellent third in class by the team’s ‘Pro’ driver Jonny Adam but after the session a number of times were disallowed as they were set under red flags.
As a result, The Oman Racing Team was therefore elevated into its justifiable first ever pole position in the hugely competitive Pro-Am class, provisionally sixth overall, and the squad now goes into this afternoon’s three-hour race with even greater confidence.
Championship organisers actually cancelled the first two portions of qualifying as a result of very poor visibility and the third session was further delayed with fog refusing to lift. One hour and 20 minutes after the scheduled start, the session finally got underway – although conditions were still far from ideal – and just four minutes into the run the red flags were shown with a car off the track.
At the re-start, Adam quickly got down to business in the tricky, and slippery, conditions and with little more than four minutes to run he rocketed onto outright pole position. As times fell further, with a minute left on the clock the red flags were shown with the Oman Racing Team Aston Martin ending the session third in Pro-Am and 14th overall, although that became Pro-Am pole soon after.
“It’s absolutely amazing to qualify on pole for the first time – unbelievable!”, said an ecstatic Ahmad. “We’ve been competitive all weekend, the team has done an incredible job with the car, and starting where we will is exactly where we need to be to try and end the year third in the championship.”
Beginning the weekend very smoothly on Saturday, during the two practice sessions at the famous European track, Ahmad and teammates Adam and Devon Modell enjoyed some faultless preparation.
Arriving at the Nurburgring in confident mood, and with Scottish racer Adam on cloud nine after successfully defending his British GT Championship title last weekend at Donington Park in the UK, the Oman Racing Team trio performed strongly in qualifying and race trim.
Working through its planned program successfully during the opening Bronze test session, the squad also had a trouble-free outing in the subsequent free practice – a run which was shortened following a heavy impact with the barriers for a Team M-Sport Bentley Continental.
Ending the 90-minute run seventh fastest in Pro-Am, 18th quickest overall, the Oman Racing Team car was just 0.9 seconds shy of the outright pace. Carrying good confidence into this morning’s qualifying run, the Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman (NBO), Barr Al Jissah and Omantel supported squad certainly confirmed its potential for round five of the season.
“We started off on Saturday with some good solid test sessions, we kept on developing and working on the car and we were very happy with where we ended up”, added Ahmad, “Like every other race weekend, we’re going into the race aiming to do the best we possibly can and we’re definitely in the best shape possible being on Pro-Am pole.”