Muscat: Leading Omani racer Ahmad Al Harthy has said that he would not have been a motorsport champion today without the help and support of his family.
Al Harthy, who is one of the founders and lead racer of Oman Racing, won the Blancpain Endurance with British teammate Jonny Adam earlier this year. The duo was awarded the trophy in Paris last week, an achievement which caps Al Harthy’s most successful year in racing to date.
“The year 2017 personally was one of the best for Oman Racing, besides it being the 10th year in the sport for this team. To be an Omani circuit racer and win the Blancpain Endurance championship, as well as achieve two championship wins and four podium finishes have been great,” he said.
“Jonny Adam had a huge part in this win; we won this championship together,” he stated. “It is not me who has won it, but we, and this championship is so competitive that even a small error will not let you finish in the top five. We worked really hard and focussed on it and got the results.”
Al Harthy secured championship wins at two of Europe’s most famous racetracks this year — the first at the legendary Monza circuit in Italy and the second at the dreaded Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, where he took part in 24 hours of racing.
“The highlight of the year was how we did in the first race of the season at Monza. Hearing the national anthem being played at such an amazing event was great, because it was the first time Oman’s national anthem was played in a circuit outside the region,” he admitted.
“That was a very special moment, and it was very special to kick off the season in such a strong manner. “Competing in Spa Francorchamps, where we had to complete 24 hours of racing was special, because we have finished it only once in four attempts, and finishing it felt like a win,” recalled Al Harthy.
“We finished on the podium in the second position, but then found out that we had won the championship with one race to spare, and that was a special moment. Special moments for me will always continue, whether it is now, in the best year of my life, or when I competed in my first championship.”
Al Harthy paid special tribute to his family, which has supported him throughout his career, cheering him on from the sidelines and helping him in any way it could.
“I would not have been here without my family’s support, because it helped me morally, financially, in every way, and I think this applies to most racing drivers as well,” he revealed.
“There are times when I have to tell my friends ‘thank you for the invite, but I now have to focus on my racing’, and as the 10 years went by, I learned more off the race track than I did on it, in terms of physical fitness, mental fitness, professional ways of trying to improve the race car without being in the race; there are so many elements of analysing, studying and executing.
“From having two parents who were not really into sports to them being my biggest fans, I will never forget that,” added Al Harthy. “These days, they know what is going on live, and they now understand the philosophy of motorsports.”