The opening round of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series, held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on the weekend of the 11/12 April was a disappointing one for the Oman Racing Team, who finished 16th in the Pro Cup class, and 26th overall.
Problems for the team started during qualifying. Despite an impressive lap from Daniel Lloyd, which put the car into 6th in class, red flags prevented co-drivers Ahmad Al Harthy and Jonny Adam from improving, with the car forced to start the race 20th on the grid.
The team’s #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 had a good start, at first piloted by Lloyd, who moved the car up to 11th position during the opening hour, but a poor pit stop taking almost a minute soon pushed the car far down the standings.
After Al Harthy, Adam drove the car for the final stint, and raced the team up to 26th position. Unfortunately, a safety car in the final laps prevented any further progress.
Although disappointed, Team Principal David Bartrum is still positive for the season ahead: “We know that there’s great potential in the car and under different circumstances we would have been looking at a top ten finish this weekend. We have some work to do on the Aston to reach its full potential and I feel sure that we’ll be in the mix at Silverstone. The team and drivers worked really well under difficult circumstances; unfortunately it was just one of those weekends where things didn’t go our way.”
Lloyd and Adam both agree that the Aston Martin isn’t best suited to the Monza circuit, and that it will perform better on tracks such as Silverstone and Spa.
“Blancpain is the strongest and biggest GT championship in the world, so as soon as you have a couple of problems it really does have a big impact,” claims Al Harthy. “We’re positive, though, as we learned so much and we’re looking forward to the next round. First it’s British GT, though, and we are determined to do well there.”