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Tough end to British GT season for Oman Racing Team

September 15th 2015

A tough end to the British GT season for Oman Racing Team at Donington Park, ended with Al Harthy claiming the Silver Cup GT3 Class title

Early retirement for the Oman Racing Team #6 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 ended the Motorbase Performance-run squad's hopes of claiming a second Avon Tyres British GT Championship title during this weekend's season finale at Donington Park (September 12-13).

Despite a strong start to the two hour contest, damage sustained in the opening 20 minutes ruled Liam Griffin and Rory Butcher out of the championship contention with the Aston unable to re-join the race. It was a bitter end to the season for David Bartrum's squad after a rollercoaster season, with the non-classification also resulting in an eight point deficit in the overall teams' championship.

In spite of the disappointment of missing out on the teams' and drivers' championships, a strong race from the sister #2 Vantage meant that the Oman Racing Team didn't leave the Leicestershire circuit empty-handed, with Ahmad Al Harthy scooping the inaugural Silver Cup GT3 class title.

Early contact ruled Griffin and Butcher out of title contention and the pair finished 4th in the overall drivers' championship"The weekend didn't really get off to the best start when Liam came off during qualifying and we knew then that we had a great deal to do to get back from 8th and 12th on the grid;" said Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum.

"Once the racing got underway though it looked to be back on. Liam made a great start and the car was flying. He'd made his way up to 4th and was about to challenge for 3rd when he got tangled up with Lee Mowle in the Triple Eight BMW and then it was race over. It was such a big shunt that there was no way of getting the car back out on track."

The Motorbase Performance-run team went into the ‘Donington Decider' as championship contenders for the fourth consecutive season, looking to defend its 2014 teams' championship title and challenge for the overall drivers' crown. Ultimately though a ninth place finish for Al Harthy and MacDowall in the #2 Vantage wasn't enough to secure either on the day and the results left the team frustrated with the outcome.

"To lose the Teams' Championship by just 8 points was gutting;" added Bartrum. "It was just so disappointing to go out the way we did. After Marco [Attard] crashed out we had a really good chance of winning the drivers and also the team titles, and it felt within our grasp. It's just a real shame that everyone's hard work from the whole season wasn't rewarded, it could have been so much more."

The Team Boss continued; "I'm just really, really glad for Ahmad that he got the Silver Cup Title; he really deserved that title after this season and the things that he's had to put up with this year.

"The car has been unfairly penalised with the added weight and that has hampered Ahmad's chances making it almost impossible for him to be competitive, so that title was his just rewards. After three years of competing in the championship unfortunately he's had nothing back from them which is disappointing to say the least."

"I would like to congratulate Beechdean AMR, Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard on winning the drivers' Championship and also Barwell Motorsport on winning the team's title;" concluded Bartrum.

"They are all worthy champions. Beechdean in particular played a patient game and it came their way in the end."

Driver Quotes:

Ahmad Al Harthy: 
"What a way for the season to end. It was a challenging race but in the end we've won the Silver Cup which is fantastic for everyone at the Oman Racing Team, all of my incredible sponsors and everyone back in Oman who has been supporting our project since day one.

"Generally, we've had a competitive car this year and some very competitive races – unfortunately, things just didn't work in our favour on a few occasions and that's been the difference for us this year in the overall championship. It's great to win the Silver Cup, though, and I must say a huge thank you to the whole team for their incredibly hard work during the year."

The Oman Racing Team is straight back into action this coming weekend as it heads to the world-famous Nurburgring, Germany for the final Blancpain Endurance Series round of the season on September 19-20.

Motors TV will feature a highlights programme of the race from 04.10 am tomorrow, Wednesday September 16th with Channel 4 broadcasting its own highlights show from 7am on Sunday September 20th. Further highlights broadcasts are planned throughout September and a full TV schedule can be found on the official British GT Championship website.

MotorsTV can be found on the following channels: Sky 447, Virgin 545 and Freeview 71 & 240.