Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 racers Ahmad Al Harthy and Jonny Adam, along with new team-mate Salih Yoluc, made a superb start to round three of the Blancpain Endurance Cup at Paul Ricard on Friday, 23rd June, by lapping fastest in Pro-Am during Pre-Qualifying and second quickest overall.
Just a few days on from a history-making outing at Le Mans last weekend where he claimed a stunning double GT3 victory in the Michelin Le Mans Cup alongside British racer Tom Jackson, Muscat driver Al Harthy got down to business at Paul Ricard in fine style.
Likewise Adam, who arrived at the Le Castellet track fresh from his own success at Le Mans as part of the factory Aston Martin entry which earned a dramatic last-gasp LM GTE class win in the hugely prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours itself.
Carrying forward their respective form, the Oman Racing team-mates reunited on Friday at Paul Ricard and along with Turkish driver Salih Yoluc, who has joined the duo for this weekend’s six-hour 1,000-kilometre race at Paul Ricard, the three competitors prepared extremely well.
With intense heat making for a very challenging day of practice, the opening test session ended with the No.97 Aston Martin 10th quickest overall, eighth in Pro-Am, and the squad stayed eighth in class in the second practice.
In the afternoon’s Pre-Qualifying period, a fastest lap overall for Adam of 1m57.784 seconds was just pipped late on by the Mercedes-AMG of Franck Perera but second on the outright timesheets and fastest in Pro-Am marked a very strong first day.
Ahead of Final Qualifying and this evening’s six-hour race, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage-backed racer Al Harthy is mindful of the added difficulty a repeat of Friday’s searing temperatures could bring for both man and machine.
“The heat is definitely playing a role here this weekend – even for someone from Oman!”, said Al Harthy, “I think this is the hottest race weekend I’ve experienced in Europe, Friday was very hot and the temperature in the car was incredible so that obviously has a big impact.
“We’ve been making gradual steps with the car and to end Pre-Qualifying second fastest overall and on top in Pro-Am is the start we wanted to make. Jonny [Adam] had a good new tyre run to get our best time, he’s doing a great job as ever, and Salih has been going well and doing a good job too. We are all really looking forward to the race, but everyone’s hoping the weather will be cooler!”
Final Qualifying for round three of the season will get underway at 10.00 (local time) this morning, Saturday, 24th June, with the big race itself following at 18.00 (local time). Live online streaming will be available HERE
Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Driver Standings (after Rd2):
1st Ahmad Al Harthy/Jonny Adam, 44pts
2nd Adrian Amstutz/Martin Kodric/Patrick Kujala, 27pts
3rd Jules Gounon/Jean-Luc Beaubelique/Nico Bastian, 26pts
Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Team Standings (after Rd2):
1st Oman Racing, 44pts
2nd Barwell Motorsport, 27pts
3rd AKKA ASP, 26pts
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Brecht Decancq/PM Images