Muscat – Multiple GT endurance racing champion Ahmad Al Harthy is targeting a successful conclusion to his maiden season in the prestigious European Le Mans Series at the final event of the campaign in Portugal this weekend.
In what has been a very strong, and also at times frustrating, season in the ELMS, Al Harthy and his Oman Racing team go into the sixth race of the championship determined to return to the LMGTE podium with the No.69 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Ahead of the final four-hour race at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, Al Harthy and team-mates Sam De Haan and Marco Sorensen are sixth in the LMGTE Driver Standings with Oman Racing also sixth in the LMGTE Team Standings.
“We’re all really looking forward to being in Portugal this weekend and absolutely determined to end the season as strongly as we possibly can”, said Al Harthy.
“It’s been a good first season for us in the ELMS and we showed right from the beginning of the championship we could challenge for podiums and wins in LMGTE.
“It’s true we have had quite a few frustrations during the year as well, some contact on track not of our making and also some of the Balance of Performance gradings have been very negative, but we’ve continued to push and fight for every point and position as we always do. Last time out at Spa we had a very good car and a chance of being back on the podium, that’s the aim again in Portimao.”
Starring in qualifying throughout the year, the Omani – who is supported by partners Oman Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, Sohar International Bank, OQ, Omantel and MHD-ITICS – has two pole positions and a pair of other front-row starts in LMGTE under his belt.
The highlight result of the season to date, of course, was the famous maiden LMGTE victory achieved by Al Harthy and team-mates, De Haan and Sorensen, at Imola in round two in May. It was a piece of history in Al Harthy’s glittering motorsport career, as he became the first Omani to win in ELMS, in his first appearance at the Italian track.
But with a luckless opening lap retirement to begin the season following contact, at Paul Ricard in France, a ninth-place finish at Monza in Italy during round three with a car badly impacted by a harsh BOP grading and a 10th-place finish at Barcelona in Spain, after more contact, the No.69 Oman Racing entry has endured plenty of misfortune as well.
At Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium just over three weeks ago, Al Harthy’s second LMGTE podium of his maiden season looked set fair following a tremendous double-stint during the first couple of hours on a wet-but-drying track. Ultimately the team had to settle for the fourth position.
Opening free practice in Portimao will get underway at 11.20 local time on Friday, 14th October, with a standalone session for the bronze-graded drivers, including Al Harthy, beginning at 16.30 local time. Another free practice session will follow at 12.40 on Saturday, 15th October, before LMGTE qualifying at 17.35.
On Sunday, 16th October, the sixth and final race of the ELMS season will begin at 14.00 and will be screened live online at https://live.europeanlemansseries.com/en/