LE MANS WEEKEND ENDS ALL TOO EARLY FOR UNFORTUNATE AL HARTHY Ahmad Al Harthy's maiden experience of the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans ended all too early over the weekend when unfortunate damage to his Porsche Carrera Cup car, during...
LE MANS WEEKEND ENDS ALL TOO EARLY FOR UNFORTUNATE AL HARTHY
Ahmad Al Harthy's maiden experience of the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans ended all too early over the weekend when unfortunate damage to his Porsche Carrera Cup car, during qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans support race, ruled him out of the remainder of the event.
Delivering an exceptional performance on his debut at the world famous French track, the Omani produced tremendous pace from the off. Highly impressive during the wet qualifying session for the French Carrera Cup race, the 28-year-old posted the sixth fastest time -- out of 36 drivers -- but during the closing stages unfortunate contact with a retaining wall ruled him out on the spot.
Sadly for Ahmad and his Redline Racing team, the damage to his Oman Air, National Bank of Oman and Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs-backed car was such it was unable to be repaired in time for Saturday morning's race -- especially when bearing in mind the safety implications.
"For the two hours of track time I had, it was undoubtedly the highlight of my racing career so far -- a dream come true", said Ahmad, "The track is out of this world and to be on the pace there against so many drivers from around Europe was unbelievable. Touching 300km/h top speed was an incredible experience, we were as quick as some of the GT cars from the actual 24 Hour race.
"Everything was going so well during qualifying, I was in the top six and after making my final stop I went out to try and improve further. I did personal best sector times but in the final sector, I unfortunately had contact with a concrete barrier and the car was damaged. There just wouldn't have been time to repair it for the race, plus we had to consider the safety aspect too."
He added: "Obviously I'm really gutted the experience ended this way as I was looking forward to the race so much. Le Mans is an amazing place with so much history, it's been an honour to drive the circuit and we can take so many positives away with us. We'll be back in the future, that's for sure!"
Ahmad now returns to the UK in readiness for the next two rounds of his regular championship, Porsche Carrera Cup GB, which will take place at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire next weekend 19th/20th June.
Heading into the ninth and 10th rounds of the season, the midway point of the championship, Oman's number one racing driver is fourth overall in the Pro-Am 1 Class driver standings with three podium finishes to his credit.