Ahmad Al Harthy and Oman Racing enjoyed a strong day of preparation at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Saturday, 19th May, with the third fastest time in the Silver Cup class during Pre-Qualifying for the weekend’s second round of the Blancpain Endurance Cup.
After making a positive beginning to 2018 at Monza in Italy last month with fifth place on the squad’s Silver Cup debut, Muscat’s Al Harthy and team-mates Euan McKay and Charlie Eastwood are aiming to climb further up the order in the UK this weekend – and they certainly made a good start.
Saturday’s track action for the 50-strong entry at the home of the British Grand Prix began with the usual Free Practice session and the Oman Racing trio worked through their full programme with the No.97 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, posting the fifth fastest time in the Silver Cup.
Glorious late Spring weather provided ideal conditions for raceday preparations and the team continued to make improvements throughout Pre-Qualifying later in the afternoon, the 90-minute session ending with the squad lapping a highly competitive third quickest in Silver.
Concluding the day’s track time just 0.2 seconds shy of the Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG in second position, the Oman Racing squad now gets ready to head into the important final qualifying session this morning where all three drivers are seeking to maximise their performance.
“Everything has gone well with our preparations, all went to plan and the focus was on smooth running which we achieved”, said Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage-backed driver Al Harthy, “I had to get adjusted to the new Tarmac, it’s different from the last time I raced at Silverstone, but everything was good overall.
“We worked through our set-ups for qualifying and the race, everything went as hoped, and everyone knows what we need to do to maximise everything in final qualifying. The car has good pace and so the aim is to keep steadily building on the strong start to the year we made at Monza, and hopefully take away some good points.”
Silverstone GP Circuit is very much a ‘home’ event for Al Harthy and the popular Omani squad with the Middle East sportsman having spent almost the entirety of his formative career in motorsport competing on British soil.
Added to that, of course, the TF Sport squad which engineers the Oman Racing Aston Martin is based in Surrey near London and Silverstone is the home race too for McKay and Eastwood – so the team is hoping to put on a strong showing in the British sunshine in today’s three-hour race.
Final qualifying will get underway at 09.45 (local time) this morning, Sunday, 20th May, with the big race following at 15.00 (local time). Live television coverage will be available across the globe on Motorsport TV, with live online streaming HERE
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. John Patterson