Outstanding teamwork from Oman Racing ensured Ahmad Al Harthy, Euan McKay and Charlie Eastwood could overcome an unexpected chassis problem to Pre-Qualify fourth fastest in class at Monza in Italy on Saturday, 21st April, ahead of the first race of the 2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup.
Issues with the No.97 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, which came to light after the pre-event test sessions on Friday, 20th April, meant the car had to undergo significant repairs overnight and into Saturday – resulting in the squad being forced to miss the key final practice.
Working wonders, the TF Sport mechanics – who are the engineering strength behind the Oman Racing entry – ensured the car was ready in time for the crucial Pre-Qualifying session on Saturday afternoon after a titanic effort from all involved.
Ending the run fourth fastest in the Silver class with a time of 1m49.876 seconds, less than 0.3 seconds outside the top three, the squad now heads into Final Qualifying this morning, Sunday, 22nd April, aiming for a consistent session to help get the season off to the strongest possible start.
“There was a chassis problem picked up on the Friday test, it wasn’t the result of a crash or anything like that but just something odd which became apparent and we had to fix”, explained Muscat racer Al Harthy, “The guys at the team did an absolutely amazing job to make sure everything was ready for Pre-Qualifying.
“We’re still working on our pace and what we need to do, the Silver Cup is very different to Pro-Am and we know that. We’re happy with what we managed to do on Saturday, though, and now all focus is for Final Qualifying with the car recovered from its issue.”
Al Harthy, of course, heads into the new Blancpain Endurance Cup season with a big new challenge in store after stepping up into the highly competitive Silver class, following his championship victory in Pro-Am last year with Jonny Adam.
Early signs, though, indicate the Al Harthy, McKay and Eastwood partnership is working very strongly indeed with the Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage liveried Aston Martin.
“I think we’ll have to see where we are in qualifying”, added Al Harthy, “We’ll be happy with a consistent run as all three of us are pretty evenly matched, but we need a good starting position for the race and then we can push from there and work hard as we always do. It’s going to be exciting, it’s a big new test for us this season but I’m really looking forward to the first race of the year.”
Final qualifying for the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season gets underway at 09.45 (local time) this morning with the race itself commencing at 15.00 (local time) – live coverage of both will be streamed online HERE
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Jakob Ebrey Photography