Porsche Carrera GB Championship: Tenth win for Al Harthy at wet Rockingham race
Mon, 24th Sep 2012– Ahmad Al Harthy made it 10 wins for the season in the Pro-Am 1 Class of the Porsche Carrera GB Championship at Rockingham on Sunday, 23rd September, with a tremendous performance in awful weather – the result enabling the Omani to maintain his 48 point lead in the standings.
Beginning the second of the day’s races, round 16, from Pro-Am 1 pole position, the Oman Air Racing Team driver made an outstanding getaway from the slippery grid and thankfully survived heavy contact to the rear of his car at Deene Hairpin on the opening lap.
Following a two-lap Safety Car period, required after a separate incident at the hairpin, the action resumed on lap four and Ahmad immediately proved his class – as the rain continued to fall – by opening a significant gap to his championship rivals.
Circulating a full 0.9 seconds quicker than his closest Pro-Am 1 competitor, the 31-year-old posted the fastest class lap of 1m32.521 seconds (75.48mph) on the eighth tour and took the chequered flag on lap 16 more than five seconds clear. In addition to being his 10th win of 2012, the result took his tally of podiums to 14 from 16 races.
The race wasn’t without additional worries though for Ahmad, his Porsche 911 picked-up a slow puncture a couple of laps from the end so he had to coax the car to the finish knowing the tyre could give way at any moment.
“I could feel something wrong with the left-front near the end so it was quite a scare, I really don’t think we’d have managed even one more lap – it was that close”, said Ahmad, “I had a great start to the race and was then really lucky at the second corner, [Derek] Pierce hit me really hard from the back and I wasn’t sure if the car would be OK or not. Thankfully it was and after the Safety Car we kept pushing hard and had very good pace. It was comfortable from that point of view, and the car was working really well, but the track surface was extremely slippery. I’m really happy we mastered those conditions and delighted to win.”
Unfortunately for the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed racer, the dry 15th round earlier in the day wasn’t as fruitful when contact resulted in a disappointing retirement.
Able to lap much faster than his Pro-Am 1 rivals, Ahmad was third in class and challenging for second position at Yentwood when his car under-steered into the Porsche of Victor Jimenez and the impact led to the Omani being forced to pull off the circuit two corners later with damaged steering.
Next up for Ahmad will be rounds 17 and 18 of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship which will take place a fortnight from now, over the weekend 6th/7th October, at Silverstone National Circuit.
2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship – Pro-Am1 Driver Standings (after Rd16): 1st Ahmad Al Harthy, 141pts