Despite retiring on the opening lap of the race, Omani racer Ahmad Al Harthy loved his opportunity to tackle the infamous NÃ¼rburgring-Nordschleife during the inaugural Porsche Carrera World Cup race, which acted as Round Nine of the 2011 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship.
After qualifying fourth of the GB Pro-Am1 runners, the Oman Air Racing Team star felt optimistic heading into the six lap, 85 mile race, which took part in treacherous wet conditions. A superb start saw Ahmad make up at least ten places during the early stages on the Grand Prix circuit, before heading out into the 'Nordschleife' section.
He ran well, dealing with the rain and spray, before running wide while in a three car battle, running through the gravel and hitting the barriers. The Oman Air, Nawras, National Bank of Oman, Brand Oman, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs and Oman Ministry of Tourism-backed driver got back on circuit, but a damaged radiator led to retirement soon after, forcing him to watch the rest of the race trackside as a frustrated spectator.
29 year old Al Harthy commented: “It's very disappointing for the race to have ended for us on the first lap but we leave Germany in a very positive frame of mind. The weekend was a huge learning curve for me and the Oman Air Racing Team but I'm delighted with the progress we made throughout testing, qualifying and the early part of the race.
“We had an amazing start, before we got onto the Nordschleife I'd overtaken between 10 and 15 cars. Unfortunately when I had my moment and the tyres locked, I was a passenger and couldn't prevent the car hitting the barrier. I managed to get back on to the track and carried on for a short distance but the radiator was damaged so I couldn't continue.
“I'm obviously very disappointed, and especially for all of my sponsors and the people from Oman who came to support us this weekend, but we have to maintain our focus on the bigger picture. This has been a very important weekend for me in terms of my learning and it's been an absolutely amazing experience – the track is like no other in the world.”
Oman Air's Chief Officer Corporate Affairs, Philippe Georgiou, added: “It's been a fantastic weekend and an incredible experience, obviously we wanted to see Ahmad on the Pro-Am 1 podium again but it wasn't to be unfortunately. As ever he gave his all and strived to improve each time he was on track, the same way we at Oman Air continually strive to provide the best service. The NÃ¼rburgring-Nordschleife experience will be invaluable for Ahmad and everyone at the Oman Air Racing Team.”