Monza in Italy is the destination for Omani racing driver Ahmad Al Harthy this coming weekend, 23rd/24th April, where the eagerly awaited opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup gets underway at the world famous ‘cathedral of motorsport’.
After a long seven month break since the final round of the 2015 season, punctuated in December by a podium-finishing debut outing in the annual Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi, the Muscat driver is relishing the prospect of being back in action at the wheel of his Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.
Racing once again with the Oman Racing Team powered by Motorbase, Ahmad cannot wait for Sunday’s opening three-hour contest where he aims to get his fourth season in the championship off to a strong start with team-mates Jonny Adam and Devon Modell in the Pro-Am Cup Class.
This season marks the 34-year-old’s third piloting Aston Martin machinery in the pan-European Blancpain Endurance Cup and the coming campaign looks set to be as competitive as ever, if not more so with the entry list for Monza featuring close to 60 cars – a remarkable number. More than 20 cars will be eligible to battle for Pro-Am honours alone.
“It’s fantastic we’re only a few days away from the first round at Monza, I really can’t wait”, said the Omani, “Every year you think Blancpain can’t get any stronger, any bigger, but it does and when you look at the entry list for this season it looks like it should be the most competitive championship yet.
“Everyone at the team is so determined to make the best start we can to the new season, it’s going to be great working with Jonny and Devon and we’re all looking forward to the weekend. It’s too early to know where we stand, so we’re not making any predictions, but we’ll aim to do the very best we can and be as competitive as possible.”
Enjoying excellent support from an impressive portfolio of sponsors, headed by Oman Air for an eighth successive year, Ahmad is also backed in 2016 by the Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, the National Bank of Oman (NBO), Barr Al Jissah and Omantel.
Additionally, of course, Ahmad is continuing in his role as ambassador for Aston Martin Middle East and North Africa and, as such, retains strong links to the Al Hashar Group – the official dealer of Aston Martin in Oman.
“I’m very proud to again be supported by so many incredible sponsors and commercial partners, they are the reason we’re able to put the Oman Racing Team on the grid and be part of such an amazing championship”, added Ahmad, “I’m going into this season more determined than ever and very hungry to succeed. One thing is for sure, we’ll be giving our very best as we always do.”
The opening ‘Bronze Test’ of the 2016 Blancpain Endurance Cup season will get underway at 09.00 (local time) on Saturday, 23rd April, with free practice then following at 11.00 (local time) and pre-qualifying beginning at 16.25 (local time).
On Sunday, 24th April, final qualifying will take place at 09.00 (local time) with the opening race of the season getting underway at 15.00 (local time). Live coverage, and live timing, will be available HERE.
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Peter May