Ahmad al Harthy, Jonny Adam become Blancpain Pro-Am champions
Oman Racing claims class championship title with a round to spare
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.