GT: Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy takes first Blancpain class win at Silverstone
Silverstone, Sun Jun 2nd – Omani sportscar racer Ahmad Al Harthy once again entered the history books at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 2nd June, after claiming his maiden class victory in round two of the Blancpain Endurance Series – becoming the first driver of Arab origin to stand atop the championship podium.
Accustomed to achieving notable firsts in his career, such as becoming the first Omani to win a title in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship with his 2012 Pro-Am 1 success, the 31-year-old has now achieved his first European endurance racing win during only his second Blancpain outing.
“This is what happens when everything goes according to plan”, said the rightfully elated GTR Class racer, “We always knew we had the pace to win, the race went perfectly, the team did an amazing job with the car – it’s been a fantastic weekend.”
Teaming with veteran Slovakian racer Miro Konôpka, the ARC Bratislava-NBO Racing Team pairing produced a faultless race in which Ahmad contested the first and third stints of the challenging and incredibly demanding three-hour encounter.
Under bright Silverstone sunshine, the Omani delivered a tremendous first hour in the National Bank of Oman, Nawras, Oman Ministry of Tourism and Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs-backed Porsche 997 GT3R to take the GTR Class lead prior to handing the car over to Konôpka on lap 28.
Producing a similarly strong stint, the ARC Bratislava team owner ran strongly during the middle part of the race and although slipping to second prior to Ahmad’ second run in the car, the duo looked well set for a dream result on only their second race weekend as team-mates.
Regaining the GTR Class lead within a handful of laps, Ahmad charged on towards the finish with victory in his sights and sealed the success on lap 80 – sparking delirious celebrations in the team garage and among the many guests and sponsors in attendance at Silverstone this weekend.
“I had a very good opening lap, we knew we had to push as hard as we could throughout the race and it was really hard – the competitors in Blancpain are fierce”, added the Muscat racer, “We took the lead, Miro [Konôpka] did a good job in his stint and then I was back in for the final hour. I was lucky to avoid a few incidents along the way but the whole team really deserves this result.
“We had a lot of fans, sponsors, family and friends at Silverstone supporting us again this weekend, I feel very proud to have achieved such a great result in front of them. Racing at Silverstone in British GT last weekend really helped prepare me for this, that was a big consideration for us when we made our plans for this season. Now we have our first win, hopefully there are more to come!”
Paul Ricard HTTT, in Le Castellet southern France, will host the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series over the weekend 29th/30th June. Before then, Ahmad will be back in action in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Snetterton 300 Circuit in the UK on 15th/16th June.