Muscat: Ahmad Al Harthy celebrated his second podium finish in as many events during a highly charged round two of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday with a season-best second place in the Pro-Am class for Oman Racing.
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 racer Al Harthy, and team-mates Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc, started the day perfectly with the squad’s second Pro-Am pole position of the year to set-up a realistic chance of challenging for a first victory of 2019.
While those hopes were cruelly ended by an untimely Full Course Yellow period just after the team had served its first pit stop, Al Harthy having led Pro-Am before handing the No.97 car over to Yoluc for the second hour, third place at the chequered flag marked an impressive recovery. Post-race, though, a penalty for the victorious No.74 Mercedes-AMG elevated Oman Racing into second place. Importantly, added to the points for third place during the championship opener at Monza in Italy last month, the Oman Racing drivers are second in the Pro-Am standings as the season heads to the halfway point at Paul Ricard in France a few weeks from now.
“After an amazing start I had a lot of things to avoid, there was a big incident on the first lap but I managed to avoid any contact”, explained Al Harthy, “For the first three laps everyone was trying to fight hard for position, it was very difficult, but once I got my rhythm I managed to recover to second and we were really catching first. Passing backmarkers and so on made it a yo-yo effect between us.
“Salih had a difficult stint with Safety Cars and Full Course Yellows, but then Charlie did an amazing job to bring us back from fifth to a podium. That’s what we want this year, podiums and consistency and we know we have better, stronger pace that is going to come in the next few races. Overall, I’m happy with the performance and it’s always great to go back to Oman with another podium!”