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Jun 03, 2014 - 06:52 AM
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Oman Racing Team dominate at Silverstone 500
Posted by: newsla on Jun 03, 2014 - 06:50 AM
Sports Cars
Oman Racing Team dominate at Silverstone 500


The Oman Racing Team celebrated its second race win of the 2014 Avon Tyres British GT season with a commanding performance in the Silverstone 500 on Sunday (June 1).

 

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A dominant showing from Al Harthy and Caine during the intense three hour contest saw the #4 Motorbase-run Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 take the win with an impressive 56 second lead ahead of Aston works driver Jonny Adam in the Beechdean Vantage.

A strong qualifying session for Al Harthy and Caine on Saturday afternoon saw the #4 Vantage line up on the second row for Sunday’s main event, with Butcher and Griffin securing a solid ninth in the #5 Vantage.

Al Harthy took the opening stint, quickly moving up into second place on the opening lap before taking advantage of a mistake by race leader and current Champion Andrew Howard to steal the lead on the eighth lap. A perfectly timed early pitstop under the first safety car period paid off for the Oman Racing Team with Caine rejoining the field in fourth where he quickly made his way up into P2 before taking the lead once more in the #4 Vantage. Meanwhile, the #5 Aston was in 8th after a strong stint from Griffin with Butcher re-joining in 10th following a swift pitstop.

With Caine handing over to Al Harthy for the Omani’s second stint around the 90 minute mark, the Oman Racing Team had already built up a substantial lead as the rest of the field commenced with the second round of pitstops. Unfortunately the 2nd handover for the #5 Aston ran slightly longer than planned and delayed Butcher’s re-joining of the field.

Al Harthy drove another faultless stint before handing over to Caine who re-joined in third with just over 30 minutes of the race left to run. Caine pushed on for the remaining laps to take the second race win of the season for the Oman Racing Team with a remarkable winning margin of just under a minute.

Griffin and Butcher showed tremendous pace in the #5 Aston during their final stints. With Butcher lapping faster than both Aston's of Onslow-Cole and Abra ahead, the young Scotsman benefited from a drive through penalty for the Strata 21 Vantage in the closing laps to end the race in ninth place overall and collect their first points finish of the season.

The weekend’s results have put the Motorbase-run squad firmly back in the fight for the championship title with Al Caine and Al Harthy sitting in third place, just 4.5 points adrift of the championship leaders.

The Oman Racing Team has a short break now before the Avon Tyres British GT Championship gets underway once more at Norfolk’s Snetterton 300 Circuit on June 21/22.

Oman Racing Team Principal David Bartrum said:
“Another great day for the Oman Racing Team. After the disappointment of Rockingham and losing the opportunity to win there it’s great to come to Silverstone and win the biggest race of the year the Silverstone 500 – 3 hours of non-stop sportscar racing, good team tactics and everyone did their job absolutely brilliantly.

“Michael and Ahmad’s pace was exceptional, bearing in mind that Michael won by 56 seconds to Jonny Adam in the Beechdean Aston, I thought that was pretty good. Rory and Liam put in a good drive as well in the other Aston and to have both cars finish in the top ten and one a winner is a fantastic result.

“Looking at the podium was quite amusing – we had Michael and Ahmad up there as current Motorbase drivers and I then looked across at Jonny Adam and Steven Kane – both ex-Motorbase and it was quite nice to see them all up there together like an old school photo, albeit not a school that you’d want to go to!”

Oman Racing Team Driver Ahmad Al Harthy said:
“I’m really happy and proud – you know this is the one you want to win, the Silverstone 500. The team did a great job, everybody really performed well and this is what made us win. Perfect teamwork.

“People flew in from Oman just to watch us race this weekend and it’s great to give them something back and hopefully there’s more to come. The car felt really good and Michael’s stints were good so honestly I’m really proud for the team, you can see how much this means to us especially after Rockingham and to come back and win and show our true pace was amazing.

“We gained an advantage in the first stint and we kept pushing and that what it’s about. We just try to get as many points as possible in every round and so far the only times we’ve been on the podium in British GT are for wins and if we can keep doing that that’s great.”

Oman Racing Team Driver Michael Caine said:
“A great team effort. From the minute we got here this weekend everybody has worked for that win and the team’s done a great job.

“We pitted early and then we were quite fast for the next hour and we were good in the traffic also, everything went our way really and it all fell into place today. When I got in the car we had a 46 second lead and I thought I’d push a little bit and see if anyone’s taking any time off of me but they radioed and said that I had a 58 second lead so from that point of view it was great. You never really worry about a Motorbase car not finishing a race; it’s got to be pretty bad luck for something to happen.

“We’re learning every single weekend; the car’s still new to us all really and we needed this win because of what happened to us at Rockingham, but Motorbase have proved again to be top of the tree in what they’ve done this weekend. A fantastic result and great for the people here from Oman, they put a lot of effort into racing to get a result like this at the biggest GT championship event this year.”

Oman Racing Team Driver Rory Butcher said:
“I think overall our pace is quite positive. In practice we were second quickest and in qualifying we put in P5 but with the combined times we dropped a little to P9. But I felt with Liam’s consistency and race pace I felt that we’d have an opportunity to make up some places and that maybe a top six was in sight but it just didn’t really go our way today.

“We had a bit of a tough time in the race Liam put in two really solid stints, my first stint was maybe not as strong as I’d like it to be but I made up for it on the second run, we were catching the cars in the front but just didn’t have enough time left to make it count. We had the legs on Onslow-Cole and Abra and really you can only compare the same car at the same time so we should be pretty happy with that. I need maybe a little bit more experience on when the car’s on a full fuel load just to understand how the car feels and the balance of the car, but we can work on that.”

Oman Racing Team driver Liam Griffin said:
“This weekend has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It’s a whole new type of racing that takes a bit of getting used and to get your head around. The safety car makes such a big difference and unfortunately we missed out so when you look at it we could have been a minute quicker which probably would have put us top 5 or 6 which would have been more representative.

“I still think there’s a bit more pace to come from me but my race pace is better than my qualifying pace so if I can work on that and we can start a bit further up the pack then that will certainly make life easier.”


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