AL HARTHY MAKES STUNNING DOUBLE-PODIUM PORSCHE GB DEBUT Oman's Ahmad Al Harthy made a truly sensational race debut in the ultra-competitive Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Thruxton in Hampshire over the weekend, 3rd/4th April, by securing...
AL HARTHY MAKES STUNNING DOUBLE-PODIUM PORSCHE GB DEBUT
Oman's Ahmad Al Harthy made a truly sensational race debut in the ultra-competitive Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Thruxton in Hampshire over the weekend, 3rd/4th April, by securing a double podium for the Redline Racing team.
The 28-year-old, who has stepped into high-profile sportscar competition this year after three strong seasons in the single-seater Formula Renault BARC Championship, has also made history as the first Arab driver to ever participate in Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
Making a spectacular start to the 2010 season, Ahmad qualified his 420bhp Porsche Carrera Cup car second in the Pro-Am 1 Class on Saturday, 3rd April, with an excellent lap time of 1m23.831 seconds (101.17mph). Such was his level of performance Ahmad was a mere 10th of a second away from securing the class pole position on his debut!
During the season-opening race on Sunday, 4th April, the talented Omani -- who proved to be something of a Thruxton specialist during his time in Formula Renault BARC -- took the Pro-Am 1 lead on the opening lap as class pole-sitter Ollie Jackson slipped down the order.
Racing very strongly indeed Ahmad worked hard to keep Lithuanian driver Jonas Gelzinis behind and although slipping behind him on lap six, the Redline debutant hit back almost immediately to regain the class lead.
Following a mistake by Gelzinis on lap 10, experienced Porsche racer Tony Gilham became Ahmad's closest challenger. Soaking up a huge amount of pressure for eight laps or so, Ahmad had to give best to Gilham four laps from the end but still finished, a nonetheless impressive, second in Pro-Am 1 in his first ever sportscar race.
Delighted with such an outstanding start to his career in Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ahmad delivered another tremendous performance in round two on Sunday afternoon by claiming third place in class to record his second podium in as many outings.
Lining up second in class once again for the second 21-lap encounter, Oman's finest maintained his placing until the eighth tour when Gelzinis managed to find a way past. Pursuing the Juta Racing driver extremely hard for the remainder of the race, Ahmad wasn't quite able to find the gap he needed and so took the chequered flag just 0.353 seconds adrift of his rival.
Along with securing a pair of podiums on his competitive Porsche Carrera Cup GB debut -- having had very little running prior to Friday's pre-event test sessions -- Ahmad also departed the fastest circuit in the UK second in the Pro-Am 1 Championship, just three points behind Jackson.
Reflecting on his superb debut, Ahmad said: "I'm pleased with my performance overall this weekend, I would have taken a result like this before coming here -- it's more than I was expecting but I'm very proud to have done so well. It's a beautiful car to drive but you do need to respect it a lot, otherwise it can bite you. Thankfully it hasn't done that to me yet, it just teased me a little this weekend!
"The Porsche races are very long and a lot of hard work. Although my position wasn't as good in race two as in the first race, I felt I learned the car a lot more. I was hoping to push more on the last two laps but I couldn't quite get close enough to make any moves. Two podiums though is fantastic, the team deserves a lot of credit for giving me such a great car."
Rounds three and four of the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship will take place three weeks from now, 24th/25th April, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.
-source: ahmad al harthy