Ahmad Al Harthy is aiming to continue his consistently strong start to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship season when he arrives at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this coming weekend, 25th/26th May, for the category’s first three-hour race of 2013.
So far in his maiden year of endurance racing, the 31-year-old Omani – who is dovetailing his British GT commitments with a season in the pan-European Blancpain Endurance Series – has produced some outstanding drives and is determined to secure his first podium sooner rather than later.
Finishing sixth last time out at Rockingham in British GT, having taken fourth and ninth place results during the championship opening double-header at Oulton Park, Ahmad and Oman Air Motorbase team-mate Michael Caine are currently equal sixth in the driver standings.
Round three a fortnight ago certainly wasn’t a straightforward outing for the Porsche 997 GT3R pairing, a somewhat harsh drive-through penalty early-on in the two hour encounter forcing a climb through the order. After a sensational drive from Ahmad during the opening stint, Caine also starred in the second half of the race and even a late puncture couldn’t prevent an excellent top six finish.
“It’s good to be back racing so soon after the previous round”, said Ahmad, “We had plenty thrown at us at Rockingham but we still came through with a strong points finish, the team did a great job with the car as they always do and Michael [Caine] put in a fantastic stint. Our race pace has been very good so far, I’m confident we have what it takes to fight for the podium at Silverstone.”
Although the Silverstone encounter will be the most challenging yet for Ahmad in the British GT series itself, the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed driver has already experienced the demands of a three-hour endurance race from the opening round of Blancpain at Monza in April.
“Concentration, focus and consistency are the main things to have in a long race like the three-hour we’ll have at the weekend”, he added, “I learnt a lot on my first outing in Blancpain and, honestly, it wasn’t as tough as I thought a three-hour endurance would be.
“Each time I get in the car in either championship I’m learning something new and I’m really enjoying it. We’ve shown we have the pace, we know we have a fantastic car in the Porsche, and with Michael’s experience I’m looking forward to, what will hopefully be, our best weekend yet.”
Following two free practice sessions on Saturday, 25th May, qualifying for round four will take place at 16.50. On Sunday, 26th May, the three-hour Silverstone GP race will begin at 13.00 and is set to be screened live on Motors TV – check local listings for details.
Provisional 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship Standings (after Rd3):
=6th Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Caine & Jason Minshaw, 26pts
Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.