A domineering display from Oman Racing by TF Sport team at the ELMS return to Imola

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The return of the European Le Mans Series to the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari at Imola after a six-year break proved itself something of a rewarding venture for the two Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTEs of Oman Racing with TF Sport earlier today.

Having had their #69 car of Sam De Haan, Ahmad Al Harthy and Marco Sorenson eliminated from the first round at the end of just the opening lap at Paul Ricard, the Omani bannered crew (and indeed Omani driver) of Al Harthy went onto prove a point at this weekend’s second round of the season by claiming his first ever GTE pole position yesterday ahead of a near lights to flag class win in today’s four-hour race.

Al Harthy drove a dominant two-hour opening stint within the #69 car where he maintained the class lead from his eleven other competitors despite all the distractions that the multiple Safety Car and Full Course Yellow periods of caution could throw at him in addition to the sometimes-close attention of the Iron Dames Ferrari.

John Hartshorne would also continue to enjoy a resurgence of his topflight GT driving ability as he progressed his #95 car up from its P11 starting place to hand the car over to Jonny Adam from an incredible fifth in class as nearly a third of the GTE hit problems early on.

With the order of driver sequence running as they were between the two TF Sport prepared cars, it was the unenviable position for De Haan to finally get in more than half a lap of ACO rules racing this time to race and maintain a diminishing gap to Adam who was already by now up to speed and catching the #69.

No wanting to prolong the inevitable (and maybe with a bit of insider information) De Haan let Adam go through to take the GTE class lead for only about two or three laps before the #95 had to pit again themselves for fuel and another driver change.

Forty-five minutes in the car for De Haan later and former WEC GTE Pro Champion Marco Sorenson finally got his first drive of the 2022 ELMS season, taking charge during one of the (too many) FCY and Safety Car periods for cars colliding and/or running off track with just under an hour to go.

With Chaves already aboard the #95 Aston in a ‘comfortable’ second place, the #69 crew knew that the #95 car would have to pit again for a splash of fuel and then, it was also unlikely that a silver ranked driver like Chaves could ever eat into a 48 second plus gap being maintained by a platinum driver like Sorenson so protecting the work first put in by Al Harthy was all that the Dane had to do!

Despite FCY’s to the end, Imola transpired to be a magical return to the Imola circuit for the ELMS and Oman Racing with TF Sport as Tom Ferrier’s team confirmed a domineering P1 and P2 lockout of the GTE podium by the fall of the chequered flag and confirmed that result into the annuals of the series for the first Omani team/driver class win.

These podium finishes compliment that podium from the Bullitt Racing team and their AMR Vantage GT3 in yesterday’s Le Mans Cup at the circuit

With the 24 Hours of Le Mans now taking the attention of ACO rules racing next month, the next round of the ELMS will be at Monza at the start of July.

Photo credits – Andrew Lofthouse


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