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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

FOURTH ON LMGTE GRID FOR AL HARTHY IN PORTUGAL

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Hundredths of a second made all the difference in the final LMGTE qualifying session of the 2022 European Le Mans Series in Portimao on Saturday, October 15, with Ahmad al Harthy concluding the run with the fourth fastest time – just 0.196 seconds shy of the round six pole position.


Competitive from the outset on his first visit to the Portuguese track, and in the fight for pole throughout the short 10-minute period at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, the Oman Racing driver delivered a salvo of typically consistent laps in the No.69 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.


Starting off with a time of 1m42.187 seconds to go second fastest after the first flying laps, Al Harthy made a marginal improvement the next time around to post a time of 1m42.084 seconds but slipped to fourth on the timesheets, albeit only a tenth of a second away from pole.


On his fourth flying lap of the session he was inside the pole time in the first sector, but the lap as a whole wasn’t an improvement, and he just missed out again on his fifth and final lap so the Oman Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, Sohar International Bank, OQ, Omantel and MHD-ITICS backed driver had to settle for fourth on the grid.


In a session where the smallest of margins made all of the difference, Al Harthy was the quickest non-Ferrari driver and he and team-mates Sam De Haan and Marco Sorensen go into today’s final race of the season targeting a podium return and more silverware with which to end the campaign.


“It was the best I could do, the Ferraris were quick, but I’m happy with P4”, said Al Harthy, “It’s still a good place to race from as the gaps are very small. There really is hardly anything to separate all of us up near the front of the LMGTE grid, so it should be a very competitive and exciting race. It will be important to have consistency and reliability.


“Hopefully we will have a strong race pace, the car felt good in qualifying and the guys in the team did a fantastic job. I really am looking forward to my first ever race around Portimao and we’re all aiming to end the season on a high with the best result we can achieve. It would be great to reward all of the team and all of our amazing partners with a podium.”


While Al Harthy, De Haan and Sorensen have experienced more than their share of misfortune in their maiden ELMS season together, they have been incredibly competitive throughout the year and secured a memorable maiden victoryat Imola in Italy back in May.


Going into today’s four-hour race in Portugal, the Oman Racing team-mates are sixth in the LMGTE Drivers and Team standings and still in with a mathematical chance of ending the season as high as second in the championship.


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