Al Harthy Positive Despite Tough Carrera Cup Qualifying‏

Ahmad Al Harthy heads into rounds 14 and 15 of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship at Rockingham today, Sunday, 18th September, confident of two strong race performances despite one of his toughest qualifying runs of the season at the Northamptonshire track yesterday afternoon.In a session where the faster times were established during the earlier laps rather than the closing stages, the Omani racer wasn't able to extract the speed he expected and finished up with the fifth fastest time in Pro-Am 1 for the race one grid.Posting a quickest lap of 1m21.524 seconds (85.66mph) during his first run, Ahmad held second spot and looked on course to qualify in the top three of Pro-Am 1. Slipping to fifth after his mid-session pit-stop, no matter how hard he tried no further improvements were forthcoming so the 30-year-old ended qualifying disappointed.His always impressive consistency though did enable the Oman Air Racing Team driver to post a second best time suitably close to his fastest, a lap of 1m21.544 seconds gaining Ahmad an improved fourth on the grid in Pro-Am 1 for this afternoon's second encounter."It was a tough session", said the Oman Air, Nawras, National Bank of Oman, Brand Oman, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Oman Ministry of Tourism backed driver, "We lost the opportunity to put in a strong time when the track was at its fastest - we did put in a good time, but not good enough, and then the track changed and improvements weren't possible."We're extremely confident with our race pace though, plus the weather could play a role in the races with rain expected, so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. Hopefully in the races we'll be able to show our true pace and fight for the podium."Ahead of today's two Porsche Carrera Cup GB races at Rockingham's 1.94-mile International Super Sports Car Circuit, Ahmad is third in the Pro-Am 1 title standings with eight podium finishes, including one victory, to his credit so far this year.Round 14 will begin today's action at 10.00 with round 15 following at 13.10 - live coverage of the second race will be screened in the UK on Freeview, cable and digital satellite channel ITV4 and in High Definition on ITV4 HD. Live streaming will also be available at itv.com/touringcars

Provisional 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship 'Pro-Am 1' Standings (after Rd13):1st Jonas Gelzinis, 129pts; 2nd Rory Butcher, 81pts; 3rd Ahmad Al Harthy, 60pts