Ahmad Al Harthy enjoyed his most successful outing yet in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, the Oman Air Racing Team driver securing a double pole position and a maiden race win at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, racing in support of the Formula One Grand Prix.
Al Harthy was on the pace right from the off, setting the fastest time in Friday's pre-event practice, before securing his first pole position of the campaign for Round Three in qualifying, with his second best time also securing him pole for Round Four. The Porsche Carrera Cup GB regular got away well at the start of the opening race, however a small mistake proved costly, Al Harthy having to settle for second place.
Oman Air, Nawras, National Bank of Oman, Brand Oman, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Oman Ministry of Tourism-supported Al Harthy said: “It's been an amazing weekend so far, really fantastic. We were strong right from the off in testing and to carry that level of performance through to qualifying was very satisfying, it was an incredible result to claim both pole positions for the Oman Air Racing Team.
“Unfortunately a small mistake on the first lap meant the difference between winning today and finishing in second place but I'm still delighted with the result, our best finish yet. We definitely have great pace here this weekend.”
Starting on pole position for Round Four, Al Harthy made a perfect getaway to take the early lead. Increasing his advantage over the early stages, the Omani racer was unchallenged throughout the race to win by over four seconds. Al Harthy's maiden victory in Porsche ME has hoisted him to within just six points of the series lead, a win that marks the proudest moment of his career to date, the 30 year old seeing his Omani flag raised on the podium at an F1 event.
An ecstatic Al Harthy commented: “From start to finish this is the best race and the best win of my career. I'm so, so happy with this result. We made a great start, everything went well and we took the fastest lap again so it really couldn't have been any more perfect. We knew we had the pace to do this here this weekend.
“To me this is a home win, the Middle East is where I'm from and this is the closest thing I have to a home race. By far the proudest moment of my career was to see the Omani flag flying high above the podium on an F1 weekend. It's the most prestigious motorsport championship in the world, to achieve a result like this on a Grand Prix weekend is incredibleâ€¦I'm almost lost for words.
“We've worked so hard these past six years to achieve a moment like this, I dedicate this win to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The reason we've been running number 41 on the car in Porsche ME is to celebrate His Majesty's 41st year of rule in Oman. It's amazing to celebrate the National Holiday in Oman with this success.”