Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 racer Ahmad Al Harthy says he is confident of ending the 2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup with a strong result in today’s fifth and final round of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, after a solid build-up during practice and pre-qualifying.
Throughout the day at the Barcelona track on Saturday, 29th September, the Oman Racing team put its full focus into finding an optimum race set-up for this afternoon’s three-hour encounter with less concern about qualifying pace.
Choosing to sacrifice out and out lap times, and therefore lofty positions on the timing screens, in order to deliver the strongest possible package for the last race of the campaign, Muscat’s Al Harthy believes the approach should be rewarded.
“We worked on trying to find the perfect set-up for the car throughout Saturday, and to be honest we’re still fine tuning it”, said Al Harthy, “Our times weren’t all that competitive in pre-qualifying but that is because we were focusing on our race pace, we didn’t optimise our new tyre run either – we sacrificed our qualifying simulation in order to do more work with race settings.
“We’ll have to see what happens in final qualifying, but I think we should be in a good position for the race and that’s where it all counts. We’ll take wherever we start and do the very best we can in the race, I know we have the team and the drivers to push for a strong result to end the season. I think it’s going to be an interesting final round.”
After concluding free practice on Saturday with the 10th quickest time in the Silver Cup, Al Harthy and team-mates Charlie Eastwood and Euan McKay then ended pre-qualifying with an improved, but still uncharacteristic, seventh best time with a lap of 1m46.892 seconds.
Last year’s Pro-Am Champion Al Harthy, who is supported by partners Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage, goes into the last race of his maiden year in the Silver class eighth in the standings alongside Eastwood and McKay .
The final qualifying session of the season begins at 09.00 (local time) this morning, with the big race at the Circuit de Catalunya scheduled to commence at 15.00 (local time). Live online streaming will be carried HERE
Blancpain Endurance Cup ‘Silver Cup’ Driver Standings:
8th Ahmad Al Harthy/Euan McKay/Charlie Eastwood, 37pts
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. Jakob Ebrey Photography