Scorching hot temperatures at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit yesterday afternoon, Saturday, 1st October, led to one of the most demanding races of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship season - one in which Oman Air Racing Team driver Ahmad Al Harthy thrived to take second place in Pro-Am 1.Racking up his 10th podium of 2011, the Oman Air, Nawras, National Bank of Oman, Brand Oman, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Oman Ministry of Tourism-backed racer also moved into a clear third position overall in the Pro-Am 1 standings and edged closer to second placed Rory Butcher.Qualifying for round 16 third in class, just 0.280 seconds shy of Butcher, Ahmad made a good start to the first of the weekend's races and although initially edging into second place he slipped back again on the opening lap.
Avoiding a coolant spill at Surtees on the second tour, the result of a damaged radiator for Ahmad's team-mate Benji Hetherington on the opening lap, he was then able to pass Butcher on the inside as the Scotsman slid wide.
Immediately coming under sustained pressure from his rival who was keen to retake the position, Ahmad fended off the attention superbly with some tremendous driving and was able to pull clear over the final eight laps.
By lap 11, the Omani ace had opened up a gap of a second and he more than doubled his advantage into the final lap before taking the chequered flag 1.6 seconds clear of his rival. Delighted to move into double figures for his 2011 podium tally, the result was also the perfect way to celebrate his recently announced support for the Omani National Association for Cancer Awareness."I'm really delighted with the result and the performance today, (Jonas) Gelzinis has won the Pro-Am 1 Championship I think but we're still there fighting for second place", said the 30-year-old, "It was very, very hot out there - extremely hot! It's a great way to start the weekend and fantastic to begin our support of the NACA with such a great podium."My start today was good as usual and I got into second but then lost that through the traffic on the first lap. I planned to avoid the coolant that had been left on the circuit, so that worked out well, and after getting second place again I was then put under a lot of pressure for the first half of the race. I got my head down though and put in lots of solid laps and we were able to pull away quite nicely."Round 17 of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship will take place at 14.55 today, Sunday, 2nd October, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit with the action to be broadcast live in the UK on Freeview, digital satellite and cable channel ITV4 and in High Definition on ITV4 HD. The race will also be streamed live online at itv.com/touringcars
Provisional 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship 'Pro-Am 1' Standings (after Rd16):Champion: Jonas Gelzinis, 166pts; 2nd Rory Butcher, 91pts; 3rd Ahmad Al Harthy, 76pts