CHALLENGING CONCLUSION TO SNETTERTON WEEKEND FOR AL HARTHY Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk provided the toughest races so far of Ahmad Al Harthy's debut year in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship but the Omani racer still managed to hold on...
CHALLENGING CONCLUSION TO SNETTERTON WEEKEND FOR AL HARTHY
Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk provided the toughest races so far of Ahmad Al Harthy's debut year in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship but the Omani racer still managed to hold on to a top five placing in the Pro-Am 1 Class standings on Sunday, 8th August.
After qualifying strongly on Saturday with the fourth fastest time in Pro-Am 1 for rounds 11 and 12, the Muscat driver headed into the races confident of a good performance knowing his tyres were in good shape having not taken too much life out of them during the half-hour session.
Lining up just behind Pro-Am 1 rival Tony Gilham at the start of the opening encounter, Ahmad got away very well from the line to move alongside Gilham on the run to Riches Corner. As he switched to the outside for Sear though, Ahmad caught a damp piece of track and a subsequent spin dropped him down the order to the tail of the field.
Mounting a sterling recovery drive at the wheel of his Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Nawras, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Brand Oman-backed Porsche, Ahmad produced pace good enough for the podium as he climbed back into fourth in class -- passing nine cars in the process.
Beginning round 12 from the same slot on row six of the grid, the 28-year-old made a decent start but was leapfrogged by a very fast starting Michael Leonard. Running in sixth position in Pro-Am 1 by the end of lap one, Ahmad piled on the pressure more and more to Leonard and at Riches on lap 12 he produced a fantastic move to take fifth in class.
Immediately pulling clear of his rival, Ahmad reeled in Redline Racing team-mate Archie Hamilton with relative ease -- having earlier set the third fastest Pro-Am 1 race lap -- but on the 18th tour at the first corner, he was pitched into an unfortunate spin after having a problem with the gears.
Recovering back onto track in eighth position in class, the former single-seater racer managed to make it back to the pits but he was forced to retire due to a severely overheating engine -- a great shame having shown terrific pace and determination.
"It's been a disappointing weekend in terms of the results but if you look at the pace we had here, I'm very pleased", said the Middle Eastern sportsman, "The spin in race one was completely my own fault, I'd made an excellent start but on the outside at Sear I touched a damp piece of track and the car went round on me. Our recovery was good though, we showed good pace.
"I was really happy with how I caught (Michael) Leonard and then how I reeled in Archie (Hamilton). When I thought about trying to pass him though, as I went into Riches I changed down the gears but got a box full of neutrals. By the time I got the car back in gear, it was too late and the back end went round. Then the temperature of the engine went sky high after the spin so we had to retire."
Ahmad has just a fortnight to wait until the next two rounds of the championship which take place at Silverstone National Circuit in Northamptonshire on 21st/22nd August.
2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB 'Pro-Am1' Class Standings (after Rds11&12): 1st Ollie Jackson, 123pts; 5th Ahmad Al Harthy, 61pts