Oman Racing trio misses podium

The Oman Racing trio of Ahmad al Harthy, Jonny Adam and Darren Turner, came up with a stellar performance in their new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 car, as they narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish in the annual Gulf 12 Hours race at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday.

While an issue in the first pit-stop proved costly, and turned out to be the deciding factor in the fight for the overall and GT3 Pro class podiums, the Oman Racing team finished as the highest-placed among the four Aston Martin entries in different classes.

Initially running in the top four, the loss of time during the pit stop at the end of the opening hour dropped the team back to 14th place overall and sixth in class. Battling back, Oman Racing did remarkably well to  steal a podium.

“We had an overall solid performance. Only one glitch, which meant we had to do a quick re-boot in the pits early on and that put us approximately a lap down. It was extremely hard to recover from there but everyone did a good job,”said Ahmad.

“We kept climbing back through, kept pushing, and the team, as always, was professional and we are

delighted to be the lead Aston Martin home. It was a strong debut for our new car. Abu Dhabi is a tough circuit but everyone at Oman Racing did a really great job.”

Beginning the team’s final race of 2018 from fifth on the grid, third in the GT3 Pro class, Turner took the opening stint and he moved up into the top four while retaining third in class during the first 60 minutes.

Unfortunately, though, the first pit-stop didn’t go to plan as the car lost a full lap after having problems re-starting due to a fuel problem. The team slipped to sixth in GT3 Pro and 14th position overall, following the issue.

Ahmad took over but the Omani's quest for making up the places was stymied by a number of yellow flags during his first stint. Pitting to hand over to Adam at the three-hour mark, the Scottish driver managed to break into the top-ten but concluded the fourth hour still sixth in class.

Turner got back behind the wheel at the third pit-stop and went on to conclude his second stint sixth in GT3 Pro and seventh overall, with Adam maintaining those positions to the end of the final hour of phase one of the race.

The second six-hour race began with Ahmad back behind the wheel of the Aston. Managing to get the lap back, which had been lost earlier, the Muscat driver finished the hour sixth in class still, and seventh overall, before Adam climbed into the overall top six in hour eight.

Turner then led the team into the class and overall top five. Pushing on with the podium edging closer and closer, Adam took the penultimate stint – breaking into the top four after problems for a rival – and Turner took the car to the flag, for fourth spot.

“The way we’ve ended 2018, I think next year should be a very positive year for Oman Racing and we really are looking forward to it,” said  Ahmad.

H E Rashad al Hinai, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Sports Affairs, and H E Dr Khalid al Jaradi, Oman's Ambassador to the UAE, attended the race along with few of Ahmad's supporters from Oman.

Results: 1 Kessel Racing - Ferrari 488 GT3 (Davide Rigon/Aless-andro Pierguidi/Michael Broniszewski), 2 Car Collection Motorsport – Audi R8 LMS (Markus Winkelhock/Christopher Hasse/Dimitri Parhofer), 3 Attempto Racing – Audi R8 GT3(Sean Walkinshaw/Giorgio Road/Clemens Schmid), 4 Oman Racing – Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (Ahmad/ Adam/Turner).

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