Oman Racing enjoyed a smooth and consistent start to the opening weekend of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season at Monza on Saturday, 22nd April, with Ahmad Al Harthy and Jonny Adam ending the day second fastest in the Pro-Am class during pre-qualifying.
Lapping little more than 0.1 seconds shy of the Pro-Am pace, the No.97 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 also ended the run – the last track session prior to this morning’s final qualifying period at the legendary Italian track – eighth quickest overall, just half a second away from the top of the times.
As always in the ultra-competitive Blancpain Endurance Cup, which this weekend features no fewer than 52 entries across all classes, final-qualifying will be the true indicator of everyone’s respective competitiveness but with strong preparation thus far the mood at Oman Racing is very positive.
“It’s been a good start but we know there’s a lot more work to do”, said Al Harthy, “We know how tight it will be in final qualifying – just one tenth of a second could be five or six places on the grid here at Monza, it’s very close so we need to keep working hard.
“Generally, we’re very pleased with how the weekend has started, we’ve been working on race pace and qualifying settings but everyone will only show their true pace in the final session. It was busy on track, it always is in Blancpain, but our day went smoothly and everyone at the team is working really well together. The guys are doing a great job and the car is fantastic.”
Muscat racer Al Harthy, who is supported by key partners Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage, began his weekend on Friday, 21st April, during the ‘Bronze Test’ where he was the pace-setter in Pro-Am and second quickest overall.
In the subsequent free practice on Saturday morning, the Oman Racing Aston Martin – which is engineered by British outfit TF Sport this season – placed ninth fastest in Pro-Am before climbing the order in pre-qualifying ahead of today’s crucial grid-determining session for round one.
Final qualifying for the opening event of the 2017 Blancpain Endurance Cup season begins at 09.50 (local time) this morning with round one of the championship, the 3 Hours of Monza, scheduled to follow at approximately 14.45 (local time).
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Source. Marc Orme/Photo. PM Images/Brecht Decancq