Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 racer Ahmad Al Harthy says the Oman Racing team is in good shape ahead of round three of the Blancpain Endurance Cup at Paul Ricard in France later today, Saturday, 2nd June, having lapped fourth fastest in Pre-Qualifying.
Going into this morning’s final qualifying session for the big six-hour race at the Le Castellet track, which begins at 17.45 (local time) and runs late into the night, Muscat driver Al Harthy is happy with the progress made during the initial track sessions on Friday, 1st June.
Last time out at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in the UK a fortnight ago, Al Harthy and team-mates Euan McKay and Charlie Eastwood combined to deliver the third fastest time in final qualifying and after a trouble-free opening day at Paul Ricard, hopes are high for a repeat performance.
“We had a very positive day on Friday, we worked on a lot of things with the car and to find the best set-up and strategy for the weekend”, said the Omani, “I’m hoping qualifying will go well to put us in a good position for the race start, overall practice and Pre-Qualifying were both very smooth which is always a good thing.”
Friday’s track action at Paul Ricard began with Free Practice where the squad worked through its usual set of preparations to fine-tune the car ahead of qualifying and, of course, the race itself. The No.97 Aston Martin started the day lapping sixth quickest in in the Silver Cup.
During the afternoon’s 90-minute Pre-Qualifying session, the squad ended the run with the fourth quickest time in Silver of 1m56.038 seconds – less than fourth tenths of a second shy of the coveted top three.
Believing the team is yet to show its full potential in 2018 in the ultra-competitive Silver Cup, having seen a probable podium slip from its grasp in round two at Silverstone following a late-race incident involving Eastwood, Al Harthy is determined to try and deliver a season-best showing at Paul Ricard.
“I think the Paul Ricard race will be tougher for us than Silverstone, purely as Silverstone suits our car more”, said the Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage sponsored driver, “However, Oman Racing went well here last year and we learned a lot, so we need to try and apply that – we’re determined to do well.”
Final qualifying for the Paul Ricard six-hour race will get underway at 09.40 (local time) this morning with the 1,000km encounter scheduled to commence at 17.45 (local time). Live online streaming of qualifying and the race will be available HERE
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Jakob Ebrey Photography