Ah­mad al Harthy, Jonny Adam be­come Blanc­pain Pro-Am cham­pi­ons

Oman Rac­ing claims class cham­pi­onship ti­tle with a round to spare

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE - Ashok Puro­hit

Oman’s Ah­mad al Harthy’s decade-long rac­ing jour­ney, which has its own share of ups and downs, reached its pin­na­cle of suc­cess at the his­toric To­tal 24 Hours of Spa on Sun­day.

Ah­mad along with his co-driver Jonny Adam of Oman Rac­ing, sealed the pres­ti­gious Blanc­pain GT Se­ries En­durance Cup Pro-Am driv­ers’ ti­tle with a round to spare af­ter fin­ish­ing run­ner-up at the Spa.

It is not the first time that the 35 year old has clinched a cham­pi­onship crown but the lat­est achieve­ment at the Cir­cuit de Spa-Fran­cor­champs in Bel­gium comes af­ter a gap of five years. The only other time was in 2012 when Ah­mad had won the over­all Pro-Am 1 class ti­tle in the Porsche Car­rera Cup in Great Bri­tain.

Hav­ing achieved the ti­tle in sprint rac­ing, Ah­mad moved to en­durance rac­ing in 2013 and on Sun­day fi­nally found his years of ef­forts trans­late into a his­toric ti­tle tri­umph at Spa in his As­ton Mar­tin V12 Van­tage GT3 for the Oman Rac­ing team with TF Sport.

Ah­mad, Adam and their other two team­mates, Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluc, fin­ished run­nerup at the To­tal 24 Hours of Spa be­hind the Black Fal­con Mercedes team of Oliver Mor­ley, Miguel To­ril, Marvin Kirch­hofer and Max­i­m­il­ian Gotz.

Oman Rac­ing fin­ished an over­all 15th among the 50 cars that fin­ished the race.

How­ever, with Ah­mad and Adam hav­ing been on the podium in the pre­vi­ous three rounds, the duo’s lat­est run­nerup place at Spa was enough to rack up the ti­tle win with 108 points.

The pair gained an unas­sail­able lead with one more round to spare in Barcelona with the sec­ond-placed driver, Salih Yoluc, hav­ing 64 points.

Ah­mad be­comes the first Arab driver to have won a cham­pi­onship ti­tle at the Blanc­pain GT se­ries, con­sid­ered to be the world’s big­gest and tough­est GT3 race. With the P2 fin­ish, Oman Rac­ing also bagged the teams’ ti­tle in the Pro-Am class with 108 points.

Oman Rac­ing had taken the Pro-Am pole, thanks to a sen­sa­tional run by Adam, and con­tin­ued its fine form in the main race with Ah­mad hav­ing the hon­our to be at the wheel for the fi­nal hour.

“I just can’t be­lieve it. It is so un­real that I had to pinch my­self,” Ah­mad told Mus­cat Daily by phone from the cir­cuit on Sun­day night. “To be on the podium at Spa is a dream come true and to clinch the Pro-Am driv­ers’ and teams’ ti­tle with a round to spare is just sen­sa­tional. I thank one and all for their sup­port and the team for do­ing such a great job,” he added.

Ah­mad said, “It was a proud mo­ment to achieve suc­cess in the tenth year of my rac­ing ca- reer and the Blanc­pain Pro-Am ti­tle truly marks the pin­na­cle of my jour­ney so far.”

“We knew we had a good car ca­pa­ble of a strong re­sult, but we’ve seen it be­fore in mo­tor­sports, and espe­cially in 24 hour races, that any­thing can hap­pen.

“Ev­ery­one has been work­ing so hard for Spa, this race is so big for the cham­pi­onship so it’s some­thing you’re al­ways pre­par­ing for all year to make sure you’re men­tally and phys­i­cally ready.

“To have fin­ished ev­ery race so far this sea­son on the podium is some­thing very spe­cial for me too, I’ve never done that be­fore in my ca­reer.”

In the over­all race, af­ter 546 laps of the 7.004km-long cir­cuit, the Audi Sport Team Sain­téloc Audi R8 LMS team of Christo­pher Haase Markus Winkel­hock and Jules Gounon won the ti­tle.

The fifth and fi­nal round will be at the Cir­cuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain from Septem­ber 30-Oc­to­ber 1.

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