Ahmad aims for podium sweep

BARCELONA: Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am champion Ahmad Al Harthy is eyeing yet more silverware when the 2017 season reaches its conclusion at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain this Sunday, 1st October, as he seeks to put the icing on the cake of a truly fabulous campaign with team-mate Jonny Adam. Heading to the Barcelona track for the first time in his career, the Oman Racing driver is still on cloud nine after wrapping-up the Pro-Am drivers’ title and the Pro-Am entrants’ crown with one round to spare last time out during the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium.
During the two-month break since the twice-round-the-clock spectacular, Al Harthy has been working hard behind the scenes to prepare as well as possible for the visit to Spain where he and the team are hoping to continue their outstanding 100 per cent podium finishing record.
“It truly has been an amazing year for Oman Racing, to win the Pro-Am championship — especially doing so with one round to go — was incredible and an absolute dream come true for me personally, everyone at Oman Racing and all of our sponsors and supporters”, reflected the Muscat sportsman.
“Everything has gone so well this season, Jonny is an amazing team-mate to have and the guys from TF Sport who prepare the Oman Racing Aston Martin have done an incredible job. We’re determined to end the season on a high in Barcelona, it’s a new challenge for me but one I really am looking forward to. If we can make it five podiums from five races that really would be something special.”
Starting off the 2017 season perfectly, Al Harthy and Adam claimed a history making maiden Pro-Am victory for Oman Racing in round one at Monza in Italy and went on to add a hard-earned runner-up spot at Silverstone in the UK in round two at the wheel of the No.97 Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage-backed Aston Martin.
Joined by Turkish racer Salih Yoluc with an expanded three driver line-up for the six-hour third round at Paul Ricard in France, the trio continued the podium momentum with another top two result before all attention turned to the blue riband Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Welcoming British driver Euan Hankey to the squad to team-up with Al Harthy, Adam and Yoluc, the quartet converted Adam’s stunning Pro-Am pole position into a magnificent second place finish at the end of 24 hours of gruelling and very challenging racing.
Leading Pro-Am at the first points scoring juncture, six hours, the team held second at the halfway stage in the middle of the night before going on to record the history-making runner-up result and with it the 2017 championship.
“Spa was incredible”, added Al Harthy, “It’s such a huge challenge, both mentally and physically, so to achieve such an amazing result is testament to our hard work and preparation. We have to say a huge thank you to Salih and Euan, they were a big part of Jonny and I winning the championship, and now we’re looking to end the season in style. We’ll be giving it 100 per cent as we always do.”
Following the bronze test on September 29, free practice will take place on September 30, ahead of pre-qualifying. On October 1, final qualifying will begin at 09.00 (local time) with the three-hour fifth round of the season getting underway at 15.00 (local time).
Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am
Driver Standings (after Rd4):
Champions: Ahmad Al Harthy/Jonny Adam, 108pts
2. Salih Yoluc, 64pts
3. Adrian Amstutz/Martin Kodric/Patrick Kujala, 62pts
Team Standings (after Rd4):
Champions: Oman Racing, 108pts
2. Barwell Motorsport, 63pts
3. Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon, 61pts