History made by Al Harthy as first ever Omani to top ELMS qualifying on maiden visit to Imola
History-making racing driver Ahmad Al Harthy entered his name into the motorsport record books once again on Saturday, 14th May, after sensationally becoming the first Omani to qualify on pole position in the prestigious European Le Mans Series.
Delivering a faultless, sensational performance during the GTE qualifying session for round two of the season at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy, the Oman Racing driver secured the GTE pole for today’s four-hour race by just under 0.4 seconds.
Having been quick throughout practice, Al Harthy and team-mates Sam De Haan and Marco Sorensen made good progress with the set-up of the No.69 Aston Martin Vantage GTE and in the standalone run for bronze graded drivers Al Harthy topped the times – a lap of 1m42.712 seconds.
Carrying the hopes of the Oman Racing trio into qualifying, Al Harthy went on to produce another exemplary showing and the Oman Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, OQ, Omantel and MHD-ITICS backed sportsman dominated the session.
Posting a time of 1m42.299 seconds on his first flying lap, almost half a second clear of his nearest rival, Al Harthy sliced more than three tenths of a second off his benchmark with his second lap, a superb time of 1m41.974 seconds – placing him an incredible 0.8 seconds ahead.
Ultimately ending the session 0.383 seconds clear, with that second lap, the Omani was elated to achieve his first European Le Mans Series pole position and particularly on his first ever visit to world-famous Imola.
The tremendous showing follows on from a top two qualifying performance during the ELMS championship curtain-raiser at Circuit Paul Ricard in France last month, underlining Al Harthy’s renowned competitiveness and consistency.
“I’m really happy with our performance, it’s great to have my first ELMS pole and it’s obviously a very proud moment for me to fly the flag for Oman in this way”, said an elated Al Harthy, “It’s great to be here at Imola, my first time as well, and the team did a great job in getting the car where we wanted it – honestly, perfect, perfect teamwork.
“We’ve worked all weekend throughout the practice sessions to make sure we have a good race car, so I’m really looking forward to the race now and getting a good result. As always, a huge thank you to my incredible partners for enabling us to be here in the ELMS this year.”
Race two of the 2022 European Le Mans Series, the 4 hours of Imola, will get underway at 11.30 local time this morning.