Oman Racing Team set for British GT return after challenging Blancpain weekend

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A promising start ended in frustration for the Oman Racing Team during round two of the Blancpain Endurance Series with an intermittent fault costing the Motorbase-run Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 a strong finish on its home UK circuit, Silverstone last weekend (May 23/24).
The #44 Aston, piloted by Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam, Daniel Lloyd and Ahmad Al Harthy faced an impressive entry of 61 cars for the three hour contest on the Grand Prix track and trio had a top ten finish firmly in its sights. Unfortunately a points finish proved elusive after ABS issues left them in 19th place overall.
David Bartrum’s squad initially looked to be on track for a front row start after holding P2 for most of the qualifying session before changeable weather conditions worked against the team and rain late in the session saw the Vantage drop down the order to P18 for the afternoon’s race.
Lloyd took the opening stint, managing to work his way through the packed field to hand over to Al Harthy in 12th. The Omani driver continued to make progress before a problem with the ABS struck the Aston, impacting on lap times. Despite the team and drivers’ best efforts, the fault continued intermittently during the final hour of the race with Adam behind the wheel and the Scotsman had to settle with a 15th place finish in the Pro Cup Class.

“Another case of what could have been this weekend;” said Team Principal David Bartrum. “We started well in free practice and qualifying but just got caught out by the late rain unfortunately. With so many cars on the grid, a few hundredths sets you back a long way in this championship.
“Dan progressed nicely though the first stint of the race and Ahmad was going well until we had a problem with the car which Jonny then inherited when he took over. He did a great job at first making up places but then the problem became too much to cope with and we dropped back from a top 15 place to where we ended up. He added; “A frustrating result to say this least, but the boys and the drivers did a great job once more, we just have a bit of work to do now to make sure that the car is back on it for the British GT round this weekend.”
Paul Ricard in France plays host to round three of the Blancpain Endurance Series on June 19/20, but there’s no chance of a rest for the Oman Racing Team as the squad turns its attention to the season highlight of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, the Silverstone 500 this coming weekend (May 30/31).
The Oman Racing Team heads into the weekend with an impressive 33 point lead in the teams’ championship standings, following an enviable start to its 2015 campaign. With 150% points on offer during Sunday’s three hour contest, David Bartrum’s squad also has its eyes firmly on reclaiming the coveted drivers’ title, with Rory Butcher and Liam Griffin a mere point off the current leaders.
Off the back of a superb double podium for the #2 and #6 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3’s at Rockingham last month, the Oman Racing Team is hoping to carry that strong form into the weekend and repeating the success of its remarkable race win here last season.

Bartrum added; “I have high hopes for this weekend. We had a fantastic result here last season with Ahmad and Michael in the Aston and I’d be over the moon if we could pull that off again this year.
“The competition is tough, but Liam and Rory are showing themselves as a force to be reckoned with and Ahmad and Dan are coming up from a second place last time out at Rockingham so I firmly expect us to be battling away at the front.”
A capacity grid is expected for the only three hour race of the British GT season with live coverage on MotorsTV from 12noon. Following practice sessions in the morning, qualifying gets underway at 15.35 on Saturday with Sunday’s race scheduled to commence at 12.20.
MotorsTV can be found on the following channels: Sky 447, Virgin 545 and Freeview 71 & 240. 
Driver quotes: 
Daniel Lloyd:
“The standard on the Blancpain grid is so high that qualifying outside of the top ten really does massively limit your chances of progressing well in the race. It’s really frustrating as we went into the weekend thinking that we had a really good car but we just don’t seem to be getting the rub of luck in the Blancpain at the moment.”
“I’m looking forward to getting back out on the track again this weekend to put the Blancpain result behind us though. Ahmad and the team had an excellent result here last season so hopefully we’re able to put in another strong performance this weekend and keep the pressure on the championship battle.”
Ahmad Al Harthy:
“It’s been tough this weekend but we know we can do it, the pace is there and when everything falls into place we’ll get the rewards that come with that.
“There are many positives, as always, and it’s certainly been fantastic preparation for the three-hour British GT race at Silverstone next weekend. We’re definitely aiming for a good result then!”
Rory Butcher:
“I feel like we are in a good position this weekend after securing our 2nd podium and further points at Rockingham. Liam and I work really well together and I feel confident we can secure another result at the Silverstone 3 hours.
“The Oman Racing Aston Martin is well suited to Silverstone’s fast nature and I really enjoy the circuit. It would be nice to replicate Michael and Ahmad’s win from 2014; however that will be very tricky with the level of competition. We will race our own race and if we do the job I believe we can do, we will walk away happy!”
Liam Griffin:
It's always great to race at Silverstone and we are excited to being heading there still very much in the championship mix. There a lot of points available at this 500km race so it's important that we come away with a good result.”

Source material & photo credits - Oman Racing / Motorbase
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