Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium: Hugely impressive Blancpain Endurance Cup squad Oman Racing delivered another sensational showing in the final ‘Superpole’ qualifying session for this year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa on Friday, 28th July, to secure a top seven overall start for the big race as well as Pro-Am pole position.
Making headlines the day before with a dominant class pole, the only Pro-Am entry to conclude regular qualifying inside the coveted top 20, the Omani squad again excelled in Superpole with Ahmad al Harthy’s team-mate Jonny Adam producing truly outstanding pace.
In his role as the team’s ‘Pro’ driver, Adam got behind the wheel of the No 97 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for Superpole and on his very first flying lap he lit up the timing screens with an absolutely superb time of 2m17.674 seconds — identical to the same thousandth of a second as the overall pole lap at that point.
Although not quite as rapid on his second attempt, just 0.3 seconds shy of his quickest, Adam still ended the session with a remarkable top five overall time which placed him just 0.284 seconds away from the outright pole.
Following the session, though, Oman Racing had the best lap taken away due to an unfortunate error with the timing of Adam’s release from the pits for his Superpole run. Emerging onto the track fractionally outside his permitted ‘window’, the net result meant a slip back down the overall grid to a, nonetheless excellent, seventh position. Most importantly, the Pro-Am pole was unaffected.
Going into this afternoon’s immense twice-round-the-clock challenge, which gets underway at 16.30 (local time), Al Harthy — who along with Adam is also partnered by Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey — is hoping for a trouble-free and competitive beginning to the race, from which the team can build.
“What an incredible session Superpole was,” said Al Harthy, who is backed by prestigious sponsors Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage, “Jonny did an absolutely amazing job, honestly his first lap was incredible and to be so close to the overall pole position shows just how strong the Oman Racing package is.
“Obviously, we’re all disappointed and a lit bit deflated to lose the quickest time — nobody more so than Jonny as he did the hard work out on track! To begin the 24-hour race from seventh overall, though, is so much more than we expected and the most important thing is the Pro-Am pole. I can’t wait for the race to begin, we’ll all be giving 100 per cent to achieve the best result we possibly can.”
Ahead of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Al Harthy and Adam lead the Pro-Am championship in the Blancpain Endurance Cup by eight points while Oman Racing also heads the team standings in Pro-Am by the same margin.
Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Driver Standings (after Rd3):
1. Ahmad al Harthy/Jonny Adam, 68pts; 2. Adrian Amstutz/Martin Kodric/Patrick Kujala, 60pts; 3. Jules Gounon/Jean-Luc Beaubelique/Nico Bastian, 45pts
Pro-Am Team Standings (after Rd3):
1. Oman Racing, 68pts, 2. Barwell Motorsport, 60pts, 3. AKKA ASP, 45pts