Ahmad Al HarthyHillspeed’s Ahmad Al Harthy made a welcome return to the Protyre Formula Renault BARC podium at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit on Sunday, 6th September, to boost his hopes of ending the season as category Vice-Champion with just two races left to run.

The Omani racer, who celebrated his 28th birthday last Monday, took a deserved third place finish in round 11 of the championship – his first visit to the rostrum since round four of the season at Croft back in mid-July.

During the earlier 10th round, Al Harthy finished in sixth place so, taking into account overall scores, he is currently fourth in the standings just four points shy of the Vice-Champion’s spot. However, with each driver’s lowest finish deducted – as per championship rules – the Hillspeed ace is seven points adrift of the runner-up spot.

For team-mate James Theodore, his weekend in Northamptonshire was very much a bittersweet affair with outstanding pace unfortunately not bringing the results it deserved. Fifth place in race one proved to be a good start but a spin out of second position, while catching race leader and eventual winner Josh Mulholland, meant he missed out on his first podium of the year in race two.

Lining up fifth and sixth on the grid respectively for round 10, Theodore and Al Harthy were both shuffled back in the pack as cars jostled for position at Deene Hairpin and into lap two Theodore was sixth but Al Harthy had been pushed back to ninth.

At Deene on the third tour the Omani got past Joe Crook for eighth place and two laps later at Turn 1 on the oval banking, Al Harthy produced an incredibly brave pass up the inside to take seventh spot off Steven Durrant.

Theodore, meanwhile, gained ground himself on lap four with a superb move up the inside into Deene to take fifth position from locally-based driver Kourosh Khani and that’s where the Liberty Properties-backed racer remained to the chequered flag to claim his best finish of 2009. Al Harthy also managed to find a way past Khani on lap 10 at the same corner to take a top six finish.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography