Skip to content

Driver Database News

The latest news from the world of racing

Archive

Category: British GT Championship

Declan JonesDeclan Jones will compete in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship again this season, running with ABG Motorsport and using a BMW GT4.

The 18-year-old Liverpool-based teenager made his debut in British GT last year and despite being the youngest driver in the series, he enjoyed a stellar season, taking three outright wins – and six podiums in total. It meant he finished 2013 as GT4 vice-champion – just two points off the title. He is now looking for a co-driver for 2014 for the UK and also possibly for the new GT4 European series.

“I really enjoyed last season. I learned so much and I cannot wait to make the most of all that experience this year,” said Declan, who will carry on with his existing sponsors. “I am really happy with how things are coming together. It is going to be great to continue in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and to work with ABG Motorsport.

“I’m really looking forward to trying out the BMW GT4 and can’t wait to do some tests in it.”

“We have yet to decide, however, who I will be partnered with, and that now is the focus ahead of the opener at Oulton Park in April,” Declan added.

Any candidates interested in teaming up with Declan for the British GT Championship should contact Declan’s dad and manager, Kelvin Jones or ABG Motorsport boss, Peter Hignett for further details.

Tom SharpIt was a case of what might have been for Tom Sharp in the latest round of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Brands Hatch, with luck once again deserting the IDL Racing with CWS team in a race that they led outright at one stage.

An encouraging performance last time out at Snetterton, where Sharp and his team-mate Colin White took their best result of the season so far, gave them high hopes for the two-hour enduro around the iconic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

After some strong running in the weekend’s two free practice sessions, the team headed into qualifying with a top ten starting position in their sights. In a close session, Sharp ended up putting the car 16th on the 32 car grid, just four tenths of a second off the top ten.

White started the race behind the wheel and the Ginetta stalwart was a man on a mission. Showcasing the car’s fantastic pace, White stunned the big crowd in attendance by scything his way all the way through the field into the race lead.

The fairytale was ended two laps later though when a small mistake saw him slide down to sixth, before a puncture soon after lost him further time. Unfortunately his stop to change the wheel fell just before the mandatory pit window opened, forcing him to return to the pits a couple of laps later to hand the car over to Sharp.

The double stop meant the 21 year old took to the track two laps behind the leaders in twentieth place, and with the damage already done, the BRDC SuperStar’s focus was on gaining as much ground back as possible during his hour behind the wheel.

The 2012 Ginetta GT Supercup runner-up showed front-running pace as he picked his way through the field, however his progress was hampered when a faulty catch caused his door to open, forcing another trip to the pits.

Despite a drive through penalty for a pitstop infringement soon after, and a snapped rear toe link causing a spin on the final lap, Sharp was able to bring the Ginetta G55 GT3 home in twelfth place at the finish. While the result was unrepresentative of the car’s pace, the race provided the team with lots of positives to take into the final two meetings of the season.

Tom Sharp: “To lead the race is a massive achievement and something to be proud of. Unfortunately we didn’t get the end result that we were after, but we’ve shown that there is huge potential in the car.

“I hope our guests enjoyed the weekend all the same and I would like to thank sponsors Lenlease, Balfour Beatty, Isnag, Dome, Direct Metals, Lloret, Careys, CWS and Green Recycling for their support and encouragement over the weekend.”

Next up for Sharp and co is the championship’s annual trip to Europe, with a double-header at Zandvoort in the Netherlands on September 7/8.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Declan Jones18-year-old Liverpool-based teenager Declan Jones once again demonstrated stunning pace during the fifth event of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Brands Hatch last weekend (August 10-11).

Declan, who is the youngest driver in the series this season, went to the Kent-based track looking to re-take the initiative in the battle for the British GT GT4 Championship title, and in both free practice sessions he comfortably lead the way in the Century Motorsport-run Ginetta G50 GT4 he shares with Zoe Wenham. Indeed he was around four to five tenths faster than his closest rivals.

The duo then looked a dead cert for the GT4 pole position, but unfortunately Declan missed his braking point towards the end of the lap at Clearways, when his foot got trapped under the brake pedal. Remarkably, however, he still took third on the grid, just 0.089s off P2 and only 0.352s off P1.

The following day, Declan topped the times in the warm-up and felt extremely positive going into the race. Sadly though, the race didn’t go to plan. Zoe started and was running third until she spun off into the gravel. That incident dropped her back and when Declan took over for his stint, he set a series of fastest laps, in between two trips to the pits – including one for a small fire around the diff.

Nevertheless Declan and Zoe still finished and took valuable points to keep them second in the British GT4 Drivers’ Championship, now 27.5 points off the leaders (118.5 points versus 146 points).

Declan also took the fastest lap, which was some consolation, and proof of his undoubted speed.

“In terms of the pace it was a good weekend,” Declan summarised. “I was quickest in GT4 in pretty much in every session. The only time I wasn’t was for qualifying. But I hold my hands up and admit I made a mistake.

“The race was a more difficult one. Zoe started and was doing well. But unfortunately she had a moment and put it in the gravel. She eventually got going again, but had to pit, so we could get all the stones out. She got going again and did another 10-15 minutes before we changed over.

“Straight away I was then on it, but I had a vibration problem. I pushed on, but had to stop because the area around the diff caught fire. The team did a great job to sort that and we went back out. Then the vibration problem got worse and we came into the pits and sat there until right at the end, when we went back out and just finished the race. That was just what we had to do. We didn’t want a DNF and at least that way we still got some points and finished fifth in class.”

“Overall it was an eventful weekend, it really was – we just had no luck. As I said though, I was very pleased with my pace,” added the Halewood Village-based youngster. “In the race no one could get near me, I was more than a second up on most laps and that was even with the problem with the differential!”

The Avon Tyres British GT Championship now continues next month when the series heads to Zandvoort in the Netherlands for rounds eight and nine (September 6-8): “I’ve never raced there yet, but I have done a day or two of testing. It is a really good track and I like it. It will be two one-hour sprint races. Hopefully we will have the paddle-shift there. That will put less stress on the car – it is a bit like a PlayStation then! I am really looking forward to it. I can’t wait,” he continued.

“Finally, I just want to say thanks to everyone at Century Motorsport, as well as my team-mate, Zoe and of course my sponsors, Chicago Soft, The London Perfume Company and HERO Energy, as well as my trainer, Dan at Taylors Fitness Training. We are all confident we can come back fighting in a few weeks time.”

Declan’s dad and manager, Kelvin Jones meanwhile said he was proud of his son given his age and the fact this is only still his second full year of circuit racing – and his first in British GT.

“Not the result we wanted,” stated Kelvin, “but Declan can be happy with his performance – for me it was another ten out of ten.

“He just goes out and drives and does what he does best – and that is all he can do. Everything else is out of his control. For the youngest driver on the grid, he continues to show unbelievable maturity. I am proud of him. Now we are just hoping we can claw some points back at Zandvoort and then go to Donington – for the finale – still well placed to challenge for the GT4 title.”

Photo by Matt Brookes, HERO Energy.

Ahmad Al HarthyPorsche racer Ahmad Al Harthy and Oman Air Motorbase team-mate Michael Caine continued their unbroken run of points finishes during round four of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone on Sunday, 26th May, with ninth place in a very action-packed three-hour encounter.

In a race affected by multiple Safety Car periods, and plenty of contact, the duo stayed out of trouble for the duration and only a late time penalty – a result of a problem at the final pit-stop – prevented a potential top six finish on the 3.66-mile Grand Prix Circuit.

“It was a race full of excitement”, said Ahmad, “Due to so many Safety Car periods, people running very different strategies, it was a tough race. We want results, we believe our pace deserves results, but today was unfortunately a day where some things out of our control got in the way. The time penalty near the end was crucial in costing us a few positions but, overall, it was a good weekend.”

Supported by a huge number of guests, including dignitaries from the Sultanate, the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed driver took the first stint of the race starting 17th on the grid.

Only five laps in though, a three-car collision in the midfield, which Ahmad did well to avoid, led to the appearance of the Safety Car. Remaining on track for a handful of laps as some others opted to take the first of their mandatory pit-stops, the Omani pitted on lap eight from ninth position to hand the car over to Caine for the first time.

When racing resumed Caine was down in 33rd position but by the time he pitted for the second driver change on lap 22, part way through a second Safety Car period, he had climbed into fourth with two hours still remaining.

In 20th position when racing got back underway, Ahmad produced an excellent stint to bring the Oman Air Motorbase car back into contention. Working his way through to seventh before handing the car back to Caine for the final hour, the 31-year-old was pleased with his performance.

Caine re-entered the race in 17th position and scythed through into the top six with just 15 minutes remaining on the clock. Unfortunately though, the British driver had mistakenly been let back out from the final stop a few seconds early and so had to pit again for a drive-through penalty. Proving costly, he rejoined in ninth and got to within just 0.2 seconds of eighth place at the finish on lap 77.

“In a three hour race, first of all you have to be happy to just finish”, added Ahmad, “We did that, we scored points so we have to take that forward now and stay positive. I’m really looking forward to the next round of British GT but before then I have Blancpain [Endurance Series] here at Silverstone next weekend, the racing this weekend will help me for that.

“I’d like to thank everyone who came to support me this weekend, it was one of the largest groups of support we’ve had this season. I was honoured to have H.E. Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Hinai, our Ambassador here in the UK, come along with a lot of our other partners, the Ministry of Tourism representatives, so I’m glad it was an entertaining race for them which they really enjoyed.”

Outlining the importance of Ahmad’s racing programme to Oman, Khalid Al Zadjali, director of tourism events for the Oman Ministry of Tourism, commented: “Ahmad is a great ambassador for Oman, we’re really proud to have him doing so well in this unique sport. He helps us promote Oman, to promote Oman as a brand and to explain what our country has to offer.

“For tourism in Oman, the UK is one of our main markets so Ahmad racing in the UK in a high profile championship like British GT is very important for us. It really increases the awareness of Oman and we believe it is a very strong way to promote our country. His success in motorsport really adds value for us and we’re delighted to have been here supporting him this weekend at Silverstone.”

Snetterton 300 Circuit in East Anglia will host rounds five and six of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship three weeks from now on 15th/16th June. Before then, Ahmad will be back in action at Silverstone next weekend, 1st/2nd June, for the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series with the ARC Bratislava-NBO Racing Team.

Provisional 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship Standings (after Rd4):
=9th Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Caine, 29pts

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Ahmad Al HarthyAhmad 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.

Ahmad Al Harthy - British GTSportscar driver Ahmad Al Harthy returns to action with the Oman Air Motorbase team in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this coming weekend, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire, for the first of the 2013 campaign’s two-hour races.

Taking place over the UK May Day Holiday on Sunday, 5th May, and Monday, 6th May, the second British GT event of the year will see the Muscat 31-year-old vying for the first podium of his maiden season in endurance competition.

On his category debut at Oulton Park four weeks ago, the Omani delivered two star performances in the season-opening one hour races and he, and team-mate Michael Caine, concluded the weekend with a best result of fourth position in round one.

Going into the sole Rockingham encounter an impressive seventh in the championship standings, Ahmad also has the benefit of the additional experience gained during the first round of the pan-European Blancpain Endurance Series, in which he debuted at Monza in Italy a fortnight ago.

“I’m really looking forward to being back in the car and back with the guys at Oman Air Motorbase, we’ve got high hopes for Rockingham”, said the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed racer.

“The two races at Oulton Park went very well for us, scoring points in both was a fantastic start to my GT career and the team did a great job with our race set-up. We’re feeling quite confident going into the first two hour race of the British GT season, we had a positive test at Rockingham before I went to Monza for Blancpain so the aim is to fight for our first podium of 2013.”

During his Blancpain Endurance Series debut two weeks ago, which was a grueling three-hour race, Ahmad completed two one-hour stints at the wheel of a Porsche 997 GT3R and that experience will prove vital in his identical Oman Air Motorbase-run Porsche a few days from now.

“As long as we don’t have any mechanical problems or anything like that, I really think we can have a very strong weekend”, he added, “You never know what can happen in motor racing, especially long endurance races, but so far things have gone as well as I could have hoped. If we can build on what we achieved during the first rounds, I’ll be very happy.”

Following two, one-hour free practice sessions on Sunday, 5th May, qualifying for the third round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship will take place at 16.20. On Monday, 6th May, the two hour Rockingham race will get underway at 13.05.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Ollie Hancock25-year-old Hampshire racing driver Ollie Hancock scored another podium in only his second GT3 outing, this time driving a Fortec Motorsports-prepared Mercedes SLS GT3 in the opening round of this year’s British GT Championship at Oulton Park last weekend.

With just a solitary morning of rain-lashed pre-season testing under his belt, the former factory Lotus driver experienced dry weather running for the first time in Saturday’s practice session, before a strong qualifying performance from co-driver Benji Hetherington gave Fortec an astonishing pole position on their sportscar racing debut.

Hetherington started the race superbly, overcoming advantage-eroding safety cars and opening up an early lead on the Trackspeed Porsche of Jon Minshaw. Having taken over the wheel at the halfway point, Hancock re-emerged from the pits directly into a battle with Phil Keen and factory Porsche driver Nick Tandy.

Defending hard, the 2008 Formula Renault BARC champion held the lead for another five laps until Tandy slipped by on the inside of Druids corner, forcing Hancock wide on to the exit kerb which also allowed Keen to pass. Having made his point, Hancock held station until the chequered flag to provide himself and Hetherington with a third place finish in the hour-long event.

Race two was a little less eventful after starting lower down the order in 20th position due to a fraught qualifying session. A dogged attempt by both drivers saw the car climb as high as 13th before its retirement late in the race with gearbox failure.

Ollie Hancock: “It’s been a fantastic but challenging weekend for everybody at Fortec. They only took delivery of the cars three weeks ago and with minimal testing this weekend has been a step into the unknown. I only got the call to race on Friday afternoon, and although we’re playing catch up, we’ve improved the car each and every time we went on track. To come away with a pole and third place finish is great, especially with our 65kg weight penalty! It’s been a lot of fun and a superb team effort, and the result is really testament to how good Fortec are. A big thank you to Richard and Trevor for having me in the car; I’m really hoping to be back for more at the next round.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Ecurie EcosseEcurie Ecosse began their 2013 British GT Championship campaign with a pair of strong finishes at Oulton Park yesterday (1 April).

The Ecosse duo of Oliver Bryant and Marco Attard quickly got to grips with the Barwell Motorsport-run BMW Z4 GT3 to take a fine sixth place in the first race of the day. Attard maintained his qualifying pace and after a solid and consistent stint handed over to Bryant in eighth position. Bryant then engaged in a thrilling battle which saw five cars fighting for third place.

Following an off-track excursion caused by contact from Alan Simonsen in the Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Bryant set about making up for lost time, consistently lapping quicker than those in front on his way to a strong sixth place overall finish.

Race two was equally competitive. Bryant started and lost touch with the lead pack while battling with Rob Barff (Ferrari 458) and Joe Osborne (BMW Z4 GT3), but made up a huge amount of time with a very impressive ‘in lap’ and speedy pit work from the Barwell crew. As things settled down Attard emerged in sixth spot. After making more progress the race was neutralised for a car on fire, bunching the field up.

With two laps to go the safety car came in and Attard drove fantastically. After a superb pass on the Jay Palmer Ferrari he took third overall, a performance that netted him the coveted ‘Mobil 1 Driver of the Weekend’ award.

Ecurie Ecosse now lie third in the championship following the first two rounds and were consistently the fastest BMW throughout the weekend.

The sister BMW Z4 GT3 driven by Piers and Ron Johnson under the ‘Ecurie Ecosse with Barwell Motorsport’ banner finished 16th and 17th in the two races, maintaining Ecosse’s 100% finishing record in all the events in which the team has entered since it was reformed in 2011.

Mark Lemmer, Barwell Motorsport Team Principal: “We’ve been working hard and have made the solid championship start that we deserve. Marco, Olly and the team did a fantastic job and we’re now looking forward to the longer races.”

Oliver Bryant, Ecurie Ecosse driver: “Hats off to Marco and the team for an excellent job this weekend. We know the key is to be quick and consistent and to stay out of trouble. A huge amount of work has gone in from everyone at Ecurie Ecosse and Barwell Motorsport in the off-season to pull this deal together so a podium is very rewarding!”

Marco Attard, Ecurie Ecosse driver: “What a great result at Oulton Park following two eventful races! Thanks to the Barwell crew who did a great job, our engineers Andy and Adam and the whole Ecurie Ecosse team, not forgetting Olly Bryant who drove two great races and was a huge support to me.”

The next rounds of the British GT Championship take place at Rockingham on 6 May. Before that the team turns it’s attentions to the opening round of the European Le Mans Series at Silverstone (13 April) where the car will compete for honours in the GTC class driven by Ollie Millroy, Andrew Smith and Alasdair McCaig.

Photo by Gary Parravani / www.xynamic.com

Ahmad Al Harthy - Oulton Park, British GTOman Air Motorbase driver Ahmad Al Harthy delivered two fantastic performances on his race debut in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Monday, 1st April, as he and team-mate Michael Caine finished fourth and ninth in the opening two rounds of 2013.

Making a strong impact on the prestigious endurance racing category during qualifying on Saturday, securing an excellent third on the grid for the first of the one-hour encounters, the 31-year-old from Muscat was equally competitive in race conditions and delighted with the whole team effort.

Taking the wheel of the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-liveried Porsche 997 GT3R for the first stint, Ahmad read the rolling start well and maintained his top three placing.

Untroubled, the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am 1 Champion pulled out a healthy gap over the chasing pack and held onto the podium placing until making the mandatory driver-change stop at mid-distance.

Great work by the pit crew enabled Caine to join the track in 10th place and he fought his way back through into fourth, tantalisingly close to the podium – just 0.8 seconds shy at the finish behind the best-placed Mercedes AMG SLS which held the Briton up during the final 12 laps.

“It’s been a very, very positive weekend for us”, said Ahmad, “It’s been extremely challenging, of course, but I’m delighted to have started my GT career so well with two good results. We knew we had a strong race car, fourth was a really good result from the first race, and the team did a good job with the pit-stop. Michael [Caine] worked his way back through very well with some great laps.”

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.
Caine took the opening stint for round two which was set to be a major challenge for Oman Air Motorbase starting, as they did, from the ninth row of the grid. Moving into 17th position on lap one, Caine again became stuck behind slower cars – this time a Mercedes and McLaren P4-12C.

With that in mind, the team took the wise decision to make the driver-change stop as soon as the pits opened and so Caine peeled off the circuit on lap 17 to hand over the Porsche to Ahmad. Joining the track in 20th place and with plenty of work to do, the Omani made great progress and broke into the points-paying top 10 just prior to the emergence of the Safety Car on lap 28.

Racing eventually resumed for a two lap sprint to the finish, Ahmad holding on to the hard-earned 10th place to cap a great drive and a wonderful debut weekend in British GT. Post-race, an amendment to the result was made by officials, elevating the Oman Air Motorbase car to ninth.

Notably too, the endurance racing rookie adapted very well to the characteristics of the Avon Tyres this weekend having spent his entire career in the UK, in both single-seaters and Porsche Carrera Cup GB, on Michelin rubber.

“Race two was very difficult at the start”, he explained, “Michael had to work really hard to try and gain some positions from so far down the grid and he was held up quite badly. When he handed the car over to me I had a lot of work to do, but I did exactly what the team told me and we managed to climb into the points which was great. Our early pit-strategy worked very well.”

Helping to mark his debut in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, Ahmad welcomed a whole host of supporters to Oulton Park’s International Circuit for the season-opener, including his famous sporting compatriot Ali Al Habsi – goalkeeper for Premier League football club Wigan Athletic.

“I really am very grateful to everyone who came to Oulton over the weekend to support me”, he added, “There’s a family from Oman, who are currently in Cardiff, and they drove all the way to see me race, it was great seeing them. It was a pleasure to welcome Ali to Oulton Park too, we’re both very proud to represent Oman in the UK in our respective sports.”

Ahmad now has a five-week break from action with round three of the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship taking place at Rockingham, in Northamptonshire, on Monday, 6th May.

Ahmad Al HarthyAvon Tyres British GT Championship debutant Ahmad Al Harthy delivered an impressive account of himself during the first qualifying session of the 2013 season at Oulton Park International Circuit on Saturday, 30th March, to secure a top three grid slot for the opening race of the year.

Embarking on his maiden season of endurance racing competition, the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am 1 Class Champion made a strong start at the wheel of his Oman Air Motorbase-run Porsche 997 GT3R and lapped the 2.7-mile Cheshire track with a best time of 1m37.338 seconds (99.55mph).

Delivering his quickest effort on the final lap of the opening 15-minute qualifying session, the Omani 31-year-old ended the run third fastest and little more than 0.2 seconds shy of a sensational debut pole position from a bumper grid of 32 cars.

“We had some very, very difficult sessions but we kept working on the set-up throughout and I’m happy with how things progressed”, said Ahmad, “To get P3 on the last lap of my qualifying run was a very solid effort and I’m pleased with it to start my first weekend in British GT.

“Endurance racing is entirely new to us, the important thing is to learn as much as we can each and every weekend and make positive steps forward. Personally, I’m happy with how I performed today and I’m really looking forward to the races on Monday.”

In the second qualifying session, determining the grid for round two, Ahmad’s team-mate Michael Caine – the reigning British GT Champion – took the wheel and had to settle for 19th on the grid with ballast in the car, as a result of winning last year’s title, hampering his charge.

Even so, hopes are high in the Oman Air Motorbase camp of a solid start to the 2013 season when the first two 60-minute races of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship take place on Monday, 1st April, at the picturesque track.

“I know both races will be extremely tough, we have quite a lot of ballast on the car but we’ll do our best to overcome that and deliver two strong performances”, added Ahmad, “This year is such a big learning curve for me, to have started it well in our first qualifying session is very pleasing.”

The Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed driver will be back on track at 10.55 (UK time) on Monday, 1st April, for round one of the season. Round two is scheduled to follow at 14.55.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.