Ahmad Al HarthyOmani star Ahmad Al Harthy took the best win of his motor racing career at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, 13th November, with an imperious lights-to-flag performance during the fourth round of the 2011/2012 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.

Forming part of the support bill to the FIA Formula One World Championship’s annual visit to Yas Marina, the Oman Air Racing Team driver’s maiden victory in Porsche ME has hoisted him to within juts six points of the series lead. More importantly than that though, the raising of the Omani flag on the podium at an F1 event marked the proudest moment of the patriotic 30-year-old’s career.

Starting on pole position, after an outstanding performance in qualifying on Saturday, the Oman Air, Nawras, National Bank of Oman, Brand Oman, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Oman Ministry of Tourism-backed driver made a perfect getaway.

Steadily increasing his advantage at the front, Ahmad ran unchallenged throughout the 14 laps and put together a faultless race to win by over four seconds – capping off a memorable weekend. As in round three on Saturday, in which he finished runner-up, Ahmad once again set the fastest lap.

“From start to finish this is the best race and the best win of my career”, said the ecstatic racer, “I’m so, so happy with this result. We made a great start, everything went well and we took the fastest lap again so it really couldn’t have been any more perfect. We knew we had the pace to do this here this weekend.

“To me this is a home win, the Middle East is where I’m from and this is the closest thing I have to a home race. By far the proudest moment of my career was to see the Omani flag flying high above the podium on an F1 weekend. It’s the most prestigious motorsport championship in the world, to achieve a result like this on a Grand Prix weekend is incredible…I’m almost lost for words.”

Notably for the past two weekends, first in Dubai and now in Abu Dhabi, the Muscat-born driver has been competing with number 41 on his Porsche 911 GT3. The reason for this has now been clarified by the Omani…

“We’ve worked so hard these past six years to achieve a moment like this, I dedicate this win to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The reason we’ve been running number 41 on the car in Porsche ME is to celebrate His Majesty’s 41st year of rule in Oman. It’s amazing to celebrate the National Holiday in Oman with this success.”

Rounds five and six of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East are expected to take place in Abu Dhabi next month – the date of the event is yet to be confirmed.

2011/2012 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East Driver Standings (after Rd4):
1st Abdulaziz Al Faisal, 72pts; 2nd Bandar Alesayi, 68pts; 3rd Ahmad Al Harthy, 66pts

Photo by Porsche Middle East & Africa.