Oman Racing Team takes top ten Pro Cup finish at Paul Ricard

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Oman Racing Team celebrated a top ten Pro Cup class finish at Paul Ricard on Saturday (June 20) during round 3 of the Blancpain Endurance Series, marking the Motorbase-run squad’s first points finish of the season. 
After a disappointing qualifying session that saw the #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 placed mid-way through the 60 GT3 car grid for Saturday’s 6 hour contest, a superb fighting performance from Ahmad Al Harthy, Daniel Lloyd and Jonny Adam delivered a coveted top ten spot in the competitive Pro Cup class.
Al Harthy took the opening stint and immediately looked to work this way up through the pack before being collected by a BMW just 15 minutes into the start of the race. With the impact causing irreparable damage to the front right wheel, the Oman Racing Team was forced to take an early unplanned pit-stop. A drive through penalty for a technical infringement linked to pit-stop further added to the team’s woes and the #44 Vantage eventually re-joined the race at the rear of the pack in 56th position.

A strong performance by Al Harthy saw the Omani making up the initial lost laps before handing over to Lloyd shortly before the two hour mark in 46th position. The young Yorkshireman picked up the challenge and put in an excellent stint – managing to make up 21 places as the heat of the afternoon faded – passing the Vantage on to Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam in 25th place for the remaining 2 hours of the race.
Adam delivered another outstanding performance, working his way up through the order as the race continued into the evening. The Scotsman continued to push the Vantage forward and the squad’s effort and determination was justly rewarded with a 10th place finish in the Pro Cup class (16th overall), collecting the first point of the 2015 campaign along the way.
“We had a good start to the race but unfortunately for Ahmad he got caught in the wheel and that put us straight to the back in 56th;” said Oman Racing Team Principal David Bartrum. “Ahmad drove a blinding stint, and whether out of anger or frustration it delivered! Dan got in and drove a superb middle stint and then Jonny drove off into the dark and just went to work. The car was excellent in the race and all three drivers did a sterling job. We never went backwards during the entire race, they all kept on pushing.”

“It was a great team effort on what was a really trying weekend for the team. They worked the hardest they’ve probably had to in this series but once we got to the racing everyone’s spirits lifted and they all delivered;” added Bartrum.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the three drivers and the boys as well. It was really nice for me to watch the whole team dig out a performance and result that looked so far away from the start. I’m a very proud Team Principal; to go from 56th to 16th overall and also score our first Blancpain point of the season is a great achievement and I am over the moon.”
The Oman Racing Team now heads straight to the world famous Spa- Francorchamps circuit where Adam, Lloyd and Al Harthy will be joined by British GT team-mates Rory Butcher and Liam Griffin for an official timed test session tomorrow (June 24). David Bartrum’s squad then has a short break in the racing schedule before heading back to Belgium for the Avon Tyres British GT Championship on July 10/11.

Driver quotes: 

Daniel Lloyd:
“It was a bit of a rollercoaster of a race but a fantastic experience for Spa as my first proper double stint in a GT3 car in those conditions and pressure from so many other cars on the grid.
“It was such a shame we got hit as I think we would have been well in the top 8. Without the contact and drive through we would have saved a good 2 minutes plus, but there are loads of positives we can take from the weekend.”
Ahmad Al Harthy:
“That was a very difficult race but one hell of a fightback! It’s our best result so far in Blancpain so we’re all very happy about that, especially after such a challenging race with so much going against us from the start.
“We showed we never give up, we always fight and to do that as part of one of the very best grids there has ever been in this championship is a big boost for us.”

Source material - Motorbase
Photo credits - Peter May images
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