Puncture Halts Al Harthy In Porsche Supercup
By staff - Mon Jul 09, 9:46 am
Oman Air Racing Team driver Ahmad Al Harthy had an unfortunate conclusion to his weekend in the FIA Formula One World Championship-supporting Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 8th July, after being forced to retire with a puncture on lap seven of the race.
Marking his second appearance at the British Grand Prix, having debuted in the blue riband Porsche category this time last year at Silverstone, the 30-year-old had put together an impressive start to the race and was fifth of the eight-strong Porsche Carrera Cup GB contingent inside a couple of laps.
Dispatching Porsche Supercup regular Andreas Mayerl through Stowe corner on lap seven, Ahmad held the line through Club Chicane but at the exit of the turn the Austrian made a botched attempt to re-challenge and made contact with the right-rear wheel of the Muscat racer’s car.
Immediately leading to a puncture, the Oman Air, Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Ministry of Tourism, Nawras, National Bank of Oman and Muscat Eye Laser Centre-backed driver had no option but to pull off the circuit a couple of corners later.
“I was happy with the start and the opening laps”, said Ahmad, “I overtook a few cars and was chasing [Rory] Butcher and [Richard] Plant, we had good pace and everything was going as we had planned really. I then had a clear overtake on Mayerl on the outside going down Hangar Straight, I was in a good position for the chicane but then I got hit on my right-rear wheel causing a puncture.”
All in all, the weekend was quite a tough one for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB ‘Pro-Am 1’ leader with qualifying on Saturday, 7th July, not working out as hoped. Rain before the start of the all-important session led to treaded tyres being used at the beginning but it was soon clear slicks were required.
Unfortunately, Ahmad’s used set didn’t provide the requisite grip needed and he had to settle for a less-than-expected 23rd on the grid. Even so, his strong early-race progress proved a big confidence boost and although the retirement was disappointing, the experience of competing in Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup again will stand the Omani in good stead for the remainder of the British season.
“The racing in Porsche Supercup is such a high level, we came into the weekend treating this as a learning experience so, although it’s not ideal we had to retire, I’m not that disappointed as we did learn a lot”, he added.
“The whole point of racing this weekend was to make us stronger for the British championship and there’s a lot we can take forward into the second half of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB season. This experience has definitely been positive for us.”
Ahmad now has a five week break from racing ahead of the start of the second half of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, rounds 11 and 12 of the season, which will take place at Snetterton 300 Circuit in East Anglia over the weekend 11th/12th August.
Photo credit Jakob Ebrey