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News 2013: Oman Air Motorbase thwarted in final race

October 7th

Oman Air Motorbase end 2013 season in fifth overall

Contact from a rival competitor dashed the title hopes of the Oman Air Motorbase squad in the ninth and final round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Donington Park on Sunday (6 October).

Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Caine went into the decisive two-hour race with an outside chance of clinching the overall title in the Oman Air-backed Porsche 911 GT3R. However, it was not to be their day after a whack from a rival car effectively wrecked their race. Although they battled back as hard as they could, the Porsche finished the race 12th, out of the points for the first time this season and destined to finish fifth in the final championship reckoning.

Early contact put paid to Oman Air Motorbase hopes of retaining the title

Al Harthy and Caine knew it would be a tough race after they qualified 18th fastest. As has been the case all year, the weight penalty due to the championship's driver grading system proved a major handicap. "It was tough in qualifying, but we always knew that would be the case", said Ahmad. "With the extra weight we've had to carry in the car all season our qualifying pace is always compromised. Michael did as much as he could in qualifying."

Unfortunately, starting down the order left the Motorbase car in the thick of some hectic early battling as Ahmad tried to make up places. Only 20 minutes into the two-hour race, it all went wrong. At the Melbourne Hairpin, the Porsche was hit from behind after the Mercedes AMG SLS of David Jones tangled with Steve Tandy's BMW Z4. The resulting spin, and subsequent delay getting going again, dropped Ahmad out of the top 20.

Al Harthy and Caine battled back hard from early race contact

For the rest of the race, both drivers pushed to the maximum and got the Porsche up to 12th place at the flag, but out of the championship points to end the season joint fifth in the driver standings.

Oman Air Motorbase thwarted in final race

"We ended the race in a strong position, we moved up from where we qualified and, as ever, the team did a fantastic job", reflected Ahmad. "There was absolutely no blame on us when we were hit in my stint and that put us a long way down. The guy who hit us did get penalised, so justice was done there, but it didn't help us.

"Looking back over the season as a whole, it's been great for Oman Air Motorbase. We've had two wins, lots of points finishes and even though we had the weight penalty in the car all year we still managed to arrive at Donington with a chance of the title."

Event Information: 
Donington Park GP Circuit, Castle Donington, Derby, Leicestershire
2.498 mile / 12-turn race circuit?
Race Duration: 1 x 120 minutes

British GT TV Broadcast (All times local to broadcaster):
Channel 4: Highlights, Saturday October 12th, 07:00
Motors TV: Highlights, Tuesday October 8th, 22:30