PODIUM SUCCESS FOR AL HARTHY AT DRAMA-FILLED KNOCKHILL Ahmad Al Harthy produced one of his best drives of the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship season at Knockhill in Scotland this afternoon, Sunday, 5th September, to fight his way...
PODIUM SUCCESS FOR AL HARTHY AT DRAMA-FILLED KNOCKHILL
Ahmad Al Harthy produced one of his best drives of the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship season at Knockhill in Scotland this afternoon, Sunday, 5th September, to fight his way through into an excellent Pro-Am 1 Class podium finish during an action-packed 16th round of the campaign.
Marking the Omani 29-year-old's first visit to the Kingdom of Fife, this weekend's racing provided an all-new challenge but he delivered a sparkling performance throughout testing, qualifying and each race to consolidate his top four placing in the Pro-Am 1 driver standings.
This afternoon's 30-lap encounter was by far the most dramatic with Ahmad having to battle back from an early spin -- a result of coolant deposited on the track -- to fight his way into the podium positions with a spirited and committed recovery.
Starting the race fourth in Pro-Am 1, the Muscat driver made a good getaway from the grid and at the end of lap one he prepared to size-up a move on fellow class runner Ollie Jackson with the pair split by just 0.5 seconds. Then, into Duffus Dip on lap two, Ahmad was one of several drivers who came to grief on the slippery circuit.
Pitching his rear-wheel drive Porsche into a spin, Ahmad lost well over 10 seconds before managing to recover and then had a mountain to climb to try and get back on terms. Delivering a thoroughly determined drive, he sliced his way through superbly and on lap nine secured third in Pro-Am 1.
At the finish on lap 30, the Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Nawras, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Brand Oman supported racer took the chequered flag just seven seconds shy of Pro-Am 1 winner Tony Gilham -- a mighty recovery by the first year Porsche competitor.
"We really were ice skating out there this afternoon!", said an elated Ahmad, "It was an incredible race, to come back through to the podium after the early spin was fantastic and I really did enjoy myself. I made a really good start initially and built up to making a move on (Ollie) Jackson into lap two but then something felt wrong and the car went away from me on the fluid at Duffus.
"The next thing I knew, I was facing in the wrong direction but I recovered the car and got my head down. I overtook everyone I could as I fought my way back through and in the end settling for a podium finish on my first time racing in Scotland isn't a bad result at all, I'm so pleased. I've really enjoyed this new challenge and it's fantastic to have another trophy to take home!"
Round 15 was a more sedate affair and produced a strong top four Pro-Am 1 finish for Ahmad. At the start he got a terrific launch and passed Jackson before cutting to the inside for the run through the first turn as he looked to try and get by Gilham.
Slipping back to fourth in class on the second tour, the Redline Racing driver remained there to the chequer on lap 32 -- ending the race in Jackson's wheel-tracks, a mere 0.9 seconds the difference. On the final lap, a last corner pass looked a possibility at the hairpin but Jackson had the line covered.
Ahmad's attention now turns to the penultimate event of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship season, rounds 17 and 18, which will take place at Donington Park in the East Midlands a fortnight from now, 18th/19th September.