Season-best top 8 Blancpain qualifying for Oman Racing Team

Oman Racing Team drivers Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Caine and Stephen Jelley celebrated the squad’s best qualifying performance of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series season at a rain-hit Nurburgring on Saturday, 20th September.Producing a fantastic top eight starting slot for the final race of the campaign, the iRacing.com Nurburgring 1000, the squad goes into the big six-hour contest with confidence high and knowing it has a highly competitive package in both dry and wet conditions.After a steady build-up at the German track during practice, Caine – who partnered Ahmad in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship finale at Donington Park last Sunday where the squad won the GT3 Team Champions title – took the opening run and delivered a star performance with the sixth fastest time overall, a lap of 1m57.612 seconds. Ahmad got behind the wheel of the No.44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for session two and had set a best time of 1m59.809 seconds before rainfall arrived at the Nurburgring, rendering the rest of the second period pointless in terms of trying to find improvements. With no time for track conditions to improve for session three, when Jelley piloted the Oman Racing Team car, the fastest lap times from each squad were taken from the opening two runs to determine the grid order for the fifth and final round of the season.Caine’s best lap from session one placed the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Al Hashar Group/Aston Martin Oman-backed trio eighth on the overall grid, seventh in the Pro Cup class. “This is a fantastic result, eighth on the grid is by far the Oman Racing Team’s best qualifying of the season in Blancpain – we’re very happy indeed”, said 33-year-old Ahmad , “It’s a very respectable position to start the race from, we initially thought we were somewhere around the top 10 or top 12 which we’d have been more than happy with. “Eighth is obviously even better and a great place to start such a long race from, it’s going to be very challenging but we’re confident we have a good package and the team is working well as always. We think the conditions for the race may by similar to qualifying, the weather is very unpredictable at the Nurburgring but we’re looking forward to the race whatever happens.”The iRacing.com Nurburgring 1000 will get underway at 11.45 (local time) later today, Sunday, 21st September, and will be screened live on Motors TV with the addition of online streaming at the official Blancpain Endurance Series website www.blancpain-gt-series.com/live