Oman Racing Team increases Championship lead with double podium at Rockingham

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Oman Racing team secured an imposing double podium at Rockingham and extended its championship lead during round three of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this weekend (2/3 May). 
An impressive qualifying session on Saturday saw the #2 Motorbase-run Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 secure third spot on the grid with Daniel Lloyd and Ahmad Al Harthy behind the wheel. Team-mates Rory Butcher and Liam Griffin were narrowly behind with the #6 Vantage starting Sunday’s two hour contest in P5.
Al Harthy took the opening stint in the #2 Aston and almost immediately applied pressure on the race leaders, taking second spot from Howard in the Beechdean Aston before closing in on race leader Attard as the race unfolded. A perfectly executed pit stop by the Motorbase crew nearing the halfway point meant that Lloyd re-joined the action ahead of Sims’ BMW to take the race lead.
Meanwhile Griffin had been systematically making his way through the tight GT3 field, delivering another outstanding performance to hand the #6 Vantage over to team-mate Butcher in a strong third place position.
Lloyd delivered an excellent defensive drive to hold onto the race lead under mounting pressure from a charging Sims, with the Yorkshire-man holding off the BMW for several laps before eventually being forced to concede after running wide to evade lapped back markers on track.
An eleventh hour appearance of the safety car in the closing minutes of the race saw Lloyd come under increasing pressure from the charging pack - led by Oman Racing Team-mate Rory Butcher- once again but the silver cup driver held his nerve and position to cross the line in second and claim a maiden podium for the #2 Aston.
Butcher rounded off an excellent weekend of results for Oman Racing Team with the Young Scotsman catching Lloyd in the closing stages of the race whilst defending hard from the RAM Racing Mercedes to secure third spot on the podium for the #6 Vantage - with his team-mate Griffin also collecting the Blancpain Driver of the Weekend Award.
“A lovely result for us this weekend;” said Oman Racing Team Principal David Bartrum. “Second and third is brilliant for the Oman Racing Team and our championship challenge. It was great team effort, no-one missed a beat all weekend and it was a weekend of good, clean racing.
“I have to say Dan’s drive today was pretty special;” continued Bartrum. “The #2 Aston is a silver/silver car so it carries a 70kg weight penalty and to battle with a works BMW driver the way he did was impressive. I think you’ll start to see the real Dan Lloyd now and see the partnership between him and Ahmad really start to become something special.
Bartrum added; “Rory and Liam have had another well-deserved result. They never stop working and looking to improve and another very good partnership is growing there. You can see that in the results we’ve had today. We’ve had a win and now a second and third so that’s all the steps on the podium covered – we just need to keep up the momentum.”
The weekend’s results see the Oman Racing Team extend its lead in the British GT Championship. Lloyd and Al Harthy also now top the Silver Cup honours with Butcher and Griffin sitting in a strong runners-up position in the overall drivers’ standings as the Motorbase-run squad prepares for round 4 at Silverstone on 30/31 May. 

Driver quotes: 
Ahmad Al Harthy:
“We wanted to be competitive coming here this weekend, to be free of any incidents and be able to show our pace so to start third and finish second was a great step forward.
“Both myself and Dan showed what team work is about and the entire Motorbase team behind the scenes was perfect this weekend. This is what it takes to be on the podium, we know how hard it is and we want to come back next time at Silverstone and be even stronger.”
Daniel Lloyd:
“I’m really pleased with the way I drove today. I just kept it clean and consistent and thankfully it delivered the result we deserved. To get second place today, with the extra points was brilliant for our championship challenge. 
“The Oman Racing Team did a great job again today, the pit stop was awesome and the car was spot on. We really needed that result and it’ll be a case of heads down and looking to do the same thing at Silverstone in a few weeks’ time.”
Rory Butcher:
“I’m really happy with the result. It was a tough race for myself and Liam but Liam did a great first stint getting us up into third and that put me in a great position for the pit stop. The safety car at the end put us under quite a bit of pressure from the Mercedes but it was great racing and really good to see Dan cross the line in second and to get a podium at a circuit that I don’t usually get on that well with.”
Liam Griffin:
“The car was amazing this weekend. I started off a little cautious in the race but once I got the pace and confidence I just gradually starting picking the cars off and it was actually really quite enjoyable.
“I think after today and Oulton Park, Rory and I have shown that we’ve got the pace to be challenging at the front and it’s just about being consistent now.”

Source - Motorbase / Oman Racing
Photo credits - PSP Motorsport images
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