Silver Cup class points leader Ahmad Al Harthy will begin the final race of the 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit later today, Sunday, 13th September, from the sixth row of the grid, after a mixed qualifying session for the Oman Racing Team.
Partnered for the second race meeting in succession by Aston Martin ‘works’ driver Alex MacDowall, 34-year-old Ahmad goes into this afternoon’s 120 minute ninth round of the campaign determined to emerge victorious in the Silver Cup battle while also helping the Oman Racing Team try to retain the coveted GT3 teams’ title.
With grid position determined by the combined best lap times of each team-mate, Ahmad took the first qualifying stint in the all-important session on Saturday afternoon and the Aston Martin Middle East and North Africa ambassador broke into the top six on his third lap.
Although posting his quickest effort of the run the next time around, a lap of 1m30.448 seconds (99.00 mph), he had to settle for ninth quickest in the end – just 0.6 seconds shy of the front row in a very closely fought battle.
McDowall took over the No.2 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for the second run, the Briton setting a best time of 1m30.223 seconds (99.24 mph) before a red flag stoppage. With officials choosing to end the session at that point, on combined times the duo ended up with the 12th quickest lap and a spot on row six of the grid.
“We didn’t have a proper dry run in the two practice sessions on Saturday morning, the conditions were mixed, so we think we could have achieved more in qualifying than we did”, said Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Ooredoo, National Bank of Oman and Al Hashar Group-backed driver Ahmad, “We looked at all of the data and we’re confident we will be stronger for the race.
“We have our own battle and we know what we need to do. Although we’re not starting as high up the grid as we would like, I’m really looking forward to the race and I know we can make very good progress. It’ll be important to make up some places early in the race so we’re in a good position at the pit stops, hopefully everything will go to plan.”
Ahead of today’s grand finale of the British GT season, Ahmad holds a 9.75 point lead in the Silver Cup while the Oman Racing Team is second in the entrant standings. In the overall GT3 title battle, the Omani holds seventh position.
After the usual raceday warm-up, round nine of the British GT season will begin at 13.00 (UK time) this afternoon and will be screened live on the Motors TV network. Live timing will, as always, be available HERE
Provisional 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship GT3 Driver Standings: 7th Ahmad Al Harthy, 54pts
Provisional 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship GT3 Silver Cup: 1st Ahmad Al Harthy, 103pts
Provisional 2015 Avon Tyres British GT Championship GT3 Team Standings: 2nd Oman Racing Team, 189.5pts