Ahmad Al Harthy impressed many on his Porsche Carrera Cup GB debut last weekend at Thruxton as he secured a double podium for Red Line Racing.
Following three strong seasons in Formula Renault BARC the Oman driver made the step up to sportscars for 2010, becoming the first Arab driver to participate in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB series.
Despite his lack of tracktime in the Porsche, Al Harthy has become something of a Truxton specialist whilst in single-seaters and showed his advantage in track knowledge with an excellent lap of 1m23.831. The 101.17mph lap was only a tenth of a second off of the class pole position which was taken by Ollie Jackson.
As the racing got under way Al-Harthy took the class lead as pole-sitter Ollie Jackson slid down the field after losing his front splitter. Fellow debutant Jonas Gelzinis closed in on Al-Harthy before making a mistake on lap 10 enabling Tony Gilham through to challenge for the lead. Gilham sat behind for the next eight laps waiting to make his move. Four laps from the end and Gilham pounced, passing the Red Line Racing driver and taking the class win.
Race two would see Al Harthy on the podium once again after a great battle througout the race with Gelzinis for second place in class. The Lithuanian driver swooped past, demoting Al Harthy to third, finishing just 0.353 seconds in front.
Talking about his debut, Al Harthy said: “I'm pleased with my performance overall this weekend, I would have taken a result like this before coming here – it's more than I was expecting but I'm very proud to have done so well. It's a beautiful car to drive but you do need to respect it a lot, otherwise it can bite you. Thankfully it hasn't done that to me yet, it just teased me a little this weekend!”
“The Porsche races are very long and a lot of hard work. Although my position wasn't as good in race two as in the first race, I felt I learned the car a lot more. I was hoping to push more on the last two laps but I couldn't quite get close enough to make any moves. Two podiums though is fantastic, the team deserves a lot of credit for giving me such a great car.”
Rounds three and four of the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship will take place three weeks from now, 24/25 April, at Rockingham in Northamptonshire.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography