Points Leader Al Harthy Happy With Porsche Carrera Cup Thruxton Test Pace‏

Omani racing driver Ahmad Al Harthy, leader of the Pro-Am 1 points standings in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, continued his strong start to the 2012 season at Thruxton Circuit on Thursday, 5th April, during officially timed testing at the Hampshire track.Marking the only opportunity for competitors to gain practice mileage at the 2.36-mile circuit prior to the venue’s race meeting at the end of April, the Oman Air Racing Team driver made the most of the time available to him – with a particularly strong run in the first of the two sessions.Although suffering a puncture at high-speed during the morning run, between the notorious Village and Church corners, the 30-year-old wasn’t at all ruffled and after pitting for a fresh set of new tyres he promptly produced his quickest time of the day with a lap of 1m14.763 seconds (113.44mph).Placing the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed racer at the head of the Pro-Am 1 times, Ahmad was a full 0.5 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.For the afternoon session a decision to remain on old tyres was taken, sacrificing any chance of heading the times again, but the Muscat driver still managed to be third fastest in Pro-Am 1 with a lap of 1m15.094 seconds (112.94mph).“Thruxton was really good, we were able to do a good first session and build on that”, he said, “The puncture was no problem, it didn’t cause any damage and we just ran new tyres at that point to do our best time of the day which I was very happy with.“We needed to find around 0.6 seconds in the afternoon, which we would have done with new tyres but we chose to save them instead. It’s very important we did well and were quick at this test as the next time we’re at Thruxton, we’ll be straight into the qualifying session without any practice.”With the Thruxton preparations having gone well, Ahmad’s next port of call will be Donington Park National Circuit in Leicestershire which will host the third and fourth rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship next weekend, 14th/15th April.As the scene of his maiden Pro-Am 1 victory during the corresponding fixture last season, in actual fact his first ever win on UK soil, Ahmad has fond memories of the famous East Midlands track and his confidence is high for another successful performance there.“All thoughts now are for Donington”, he added, “It’s a track I have very happy memories of and I’m really looking forward to being back. It’s a very fast, flowing circuit which I enjoy – I’m confident we can have another strong weekend.”Pre-event testing at Donington will take place on Thursday, 12th April, with qualifying following on Saturday, 14th April, at 14.40 (UK time). Rounds three and four will then take place on Sunday, 15th April, at 10.00 and 15.40 respectively and will be screened live in Britain on ITV4, ITV4 HD and with live online streaming at itv.com/btcc