Spa 24h: Strong performance goes unrewarded for Oman Racing with technical woes at Spa 24h
Mon 27th July 2015 – Ahmad Al Harthy and team-mates Jonny Adam, Daniel Lloyd and Jonathan Venter ended the 2015 Total 24 Hours of Spa absolutely crestfallen on Sunday, 26th July, when alternator failure with the squad’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 cost the Oman Racing Team a shot at the Pro-Am podium.
Mounting a consistently strong bid throughout the immensely challenging contest, round four of the Blancpain Endurance Series, the team worked its way through from 10th position in Pro-Am at the start to be in the mix for a possible top four class finish at least.
However, with less than three hours remaining of a race which had absolutely everything – including extreme wet weather, fog, lots of incident and a number of Safety Car periods – the No.44 Aston Martin was forced into retirement with the alternator woes.
“We’re emotionally drained really”, said 33-year-old Ahmad after the race, “It’s so tough for the race to end the way it did, everything was looking so strong and so good for us and we were very close to achieving our aim of just making the finish. We survived all of the rain, we survived the night, but then the alternator had an issue and that was it.
“Even though we’re all so disappointed, we can hold our heads up high and be very proud and satisfied with what we achieved. We had great team work, all of the guys drove well and we really did compete very strongly. It’s a shame the way things ended but this is what we know can happen in motor racing.”
With heavy rain prior to the race start at 15.30 (local time) on Saturday, 25th July, leading to a very wet track surface and treacherous conditions, a sensible approach to the first few hours of racing was required and after the opening 60 minutes the No.44 car had sliced through the order into second in Pro-Am and fifth position overall.
As the varying pit-stop strategies played out, the order regularly fluctuated but throughout the bulk of the contest the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Ooredoo, National Bank of Oman and Al Hashar Group backed team remained in contention for an impressive Pro-Am result.
Around eight hours into the race, with darkness blanketing the Belgian track, the Oman Racing Team held fifth in class and as the encounter reached the midway point during the small hours of Sunday morning the squad retained its top five Pro-Am placing with Ahmad and his three team-mates each performing incredibly well during their respective stints.
Continuing to run faultlessly as dawn arrived at Spa-Francorchamps, everything looked good as the hours ticked by during Sunday morning – but then the alternator woes with less than 180 minutes to go resulted in a very frustrating and bitterly disappointing retirement after such tremendous hard work and commitment.
“We’ll take away a lot of confidence from this weekend, especially after running so well in such a competitive and highly experienced field”, added the Aston Martin Middle East and North Africa ambassador, “Now, we’re determined to be back stronger and faster next year in the Spa 24 Hours.”
Germany’s Nurburgring will host the finale of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series eight weeks from now, over the weekend 19th/20th September. Before then, Ahmad and the Oman Racing Team will be back in action in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship next weekend, 1st/2nd August, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit in the UK.