RAPID AL HARTHY BACK ON PODIUM AT SILVERSTONE Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship competitor Ahmad Al Harthy made a welcome return to the podium at Silverstone National Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 22nd August, thanks to an outstanding drive...
RAPID AL HARTHY BACK ON PODIUM AT SILVERSTONE
Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship competitor Ahmad Al Harthy made a welcome return to the podium at Silverstone National Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 22nd August, thanks to an outstanding drive through to third in the Pro-Am 1 Class during the 14th round of the season.
Having earlier secured a fighting fourth place in this morning's 13th round, up from seventh in class on the grid, Ahmad overturned a difficult qualifying run to leave the Northamptonshire track fourth in the Pro-Am 1 driver standings once again.
The 28-year-old, who is supported by a prestigious sponsorship portfolio comprising Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Nawras, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Brand Oman, produced one of his most competitive drives of the season in the second encounter and in terms of pace, his fastest lap was within just 0.6 seconds of the best managed by Pro-Am 1 Class winner Jonas Gelzinis.
Making his best ever start since graduating to Porsche Carrera Cup GB at the beginning of the season, Ahmad got away from the grid perfectly in round 14 and immediately moved into fourth in class with a tremendous opening lap.
Running very strong pace and looking comfortable close to the sharp end of the 27-car field, Ahmad produced a superb pass on Martin Ohlin to seize third in Pro-Am 1 on lap eight. Ohlin remained tight to the rear of the Muscat racer's Porsche but Ahmad maintained excellent composure.
Following a three lap Safety Car period the race resumed on lap 19 and although pressured by Ohlin for the final podium position, Ahmad handled it well and applied his own pressure to Pro driver Euan Hankey ahead. With very little to choose between the trio, at the finish on lap 30 Ahmad took the flag just a second adrift of Hankey but, more importantly, 0.6 seconds clear of Ohlin.
"It's amazing to be back on the podium", said an elated Ahmad after round 14, "I'm so pleased to be back and especially after such a good drive -- I want to thank all of my sponsors for helping to put me here. I got my best start of the season in terms of launching the car and I knew I had to push hard, not worry who was behind me and just attack.
"I was able to run my own race and I passed (Martin) Ohlin with a very nice overtake to go third in Pro-Am 1. From there I drove a perfect race really, lap after lap. Although qualifying wasn't quite as we wanted with the traffic, we were still positive for today as we knew we had strong race pace."
In round 13, Ahmad moved into the top six of Pro-Am 1 at the end of lap one when Ohlin went off while battling with Robbie Kerr at Luffield. Running strongly, he steered his Redline Racing Porsche past team-mate Archie Hamilton on lap eight at Brooklands for fifth in class and on the penultimate tour, lap 27, a retirement for Jonas Gelzinis enabled Ahmad to take fourth in Pro-Am 1.
Next on the agenda for Ahmad will be his first ever visit to the home of Scottish motorsport, Knockhill Circuit in Fife, for the 15th and 16th rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB season a fortnight from now, 4th/5th September.
"Knockhill will be completely from scratch", he commented, "I've never been there so everything will be completely new but I'm not thinking about that yet, it's two weeks away so until then we're going to enjoy being back on the podium!"
2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB 'Pro-Am1' Class Standings (after Rds13&14): 1st Ollie Jackson, 147pts; 4th Ahmad Al Harthy, 74pts