Ahmad al Harthy and Oman Racing chalked up their second successive top-seven finish in their class and overall 20th in the round two of the Asian Le Mans Series (ALMS) at the Dubai Autodrome on Sunday.
Having raced from tenth on the grid to seventh in the GT class during round one, Ahmad and teammates Jonny Adam and Tom Canning were on course for a potential class podium in race two – but an unfortunate drive-through penalty proved costly.
GPX Racing’s Ajulien Andlauer, Axcil Jefferies and Alain Ferte in Porsche 911 GT3 R took the class honours while G-Drive Racing team of Yiefei Ye, Ferdinand Habsburg and Rene Binder in Aurus 01-Gibson (LMP 2) were the overall winners.
“Our performance was very good and much, much better than Saturday, we were really happy with our overall pace,” said Ahmad after round two.
“Realistically, without the drive-through, I think we could have had a possible podium, or at the very least challenged for the podium, which would’ve been amazing on our first weekend in the Asian Le Mans Series.
“Although the result is the same as race one, there are a lot more positives for us to take away from here to the next two rounds in Abu Dhabi a few days from now. We go there feeling more confident as Yas Marina Circuit should suit our Aston Martin much better.”
On Sunday, Ahmad launched well at the rolling start of race two and from eighth on the GT class grid he moved into seventh before tucking back in to eighth place.The Omani went to pass Ralf Bohn’s Porsche 911 at the Turn 14 but there was contact. Taking seventh momentarily, the resulting delay ultimately dropped the No 97 Aston Martin back to ninth.
Able to climb back into the top-eight soon after, a Full Course Yellow (FCY) period on lap nine led to a number of cars making unscheduled pit visits. Ahmad stayed on track and when racing resumed he moved up into the top-five with less than 25 minutes of action complete. Another FCY period on lap 17 led to a similar scenario, with the Omani staying out and moving into the GT class lead.
As the end of the first hour approached, officials served Oman Racing with a drive-through penalty for the lap four contact. After taking the penalty, Ahmad pitted again the next time around from fifth in class to hand over to Canning.
Joining in tenth position in GT, the Briton moved up into the top-six and as the end of hour two approached he was up into third. Canning pitted a couple of minutes before the halfway point and Adam climbed aboard and joined the action in 13th position. Within a quarter of an hour he was back inside the top-ten, and then into the top-eight. The Scotsman then led Oman Racing to seventh before the chequered flag at the end of the four hours.
Rounds three and four will take place on February 19-20 in Abu Dhabi.
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