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May 29, 2014 - 06:48 AM
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Top 10 For Oman Racing Team In Blancpain Contest
Posted by: newsla on May 29, 2014 - 06:46 AM
Sports Cars
Top 10 For Oman Racing Team In Blancpain Contest


The Oman Racing Team scored a strong tenth place overall in the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone after a three-hour contest on the challenging Grand Prix circuit (24/25 May).

 

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The team’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, driven by Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Caine and Stephen Jelley lined up against a fantastic field of GT cars and the Motorbase Performance squad achieved its goal of recording a top 10 finish and also being the fastest of the Aston Martins. However, the team believes the car had the pace for a top six finish had its weekend not been hit by a red flag in qualifying and a drive-through penalty in the race.

The British weather played a major hand on Saturday with the track awash at times. Caine showed his mastery of such conditions by posting the fastest overall time in free practice, taking the Oman car half a second clear of the field. However, a red-flagged qualifying session hurt the team badly and left the Aston Martin down in 20th place on the grid. Caine was on a very strong lap when the red flags came out and reckoned that he could have put the car into the top four on the grid.

Jelley started the race and showed the car’s pace as he fought his way up to 11th place in the opening hour-long stint. However, the team was then hit with a costly drive-through penalty as one of eight cars deemed by officials to have improved in a yellow flag zone. Jelley pitted immediately and then stopped again to hand the car over to Al Harthy on lap 30.

Ahmad rejoined in 14th place and drove a strong stint to hold the place before handing over to Caine for the final third of the race. Despite a period behind the safety car, Caine battled into tenth place and ninth in the Pro Cup class to give the team its first Blancpain points of the season.

The third round of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series will be at Paul Ricard in France over the weekend of 28/29 June. However, before that the Motorbase Performance team will head straight back to Silverstone this coming weekend (31 May/1 June) for round four of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and another three-hour race.

Drawing on the experience of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit gained last weekend, the team is confident of a strong showing from its pair of Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3s in the 38-car field. Al Harthy and Caine, winners at Oulton Park, will handle the #4 Oman Racing Team entry, while rising Scottish star Rory Butcher and Liam Griffin will be back in the #5 Motorbase-run Vantage GT3.

After qualifying from 4.05pm on Saturday, the three-hour race starts at 2.15pm on Sunday. The action will be covered in an edited highlights programme on Channel 4 and live event timing can be found at www.tsl-timing.com, with live coverage of Sunday’s racing action broadcast on Motors TV.


Oman Racing Team Driver Ahmad Al Harthy said:
“It was a good race and a good result for everyone in the team. Finishing in the Pro Cup points for the first time is exactly what we set out to achieve. I’m happy with my stint in the car, Stephen and Michael both did a great job, and we’ve got points on the board. That’s what we needed after the retirement at Monza. We were the quickest of the Aston Martin teams in the end so that’s something very positive. Everything has been a step forward this weekend, we’ve improved the car and we were faster at the pit-stops; so I’m happy.”

Oman Racing Team/Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum said:
“I do feel that the team and car performance didn’t get the final result it should have done. I think we could have been in the top six and that’s where we deserved to be. Everyone did a great job. Now we’ve got another three-hour race at Silverstone and we’re going back with a strong package. I’m looking forward to getting the result we should have got last weekend.”

Oman Racing Team Driver Michael Caine said:
“We never got a proper run in qualifying. I was eight-tenths of a second up in the first sector when the red flag came out. We could have been in the top four and so it could have been a fantastic weekend. Now we go back to Silverstone, but with different tyres and more weight. The guys have done a fantastic job with the car and it feels really great at Silverstone.”


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