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Blancpain podium joy for the Oman Racing Team at Silverstone

May 16th 2016

Blancpain podium joy for the Oman Racing Team at Silverstone

The Oman Racing Team celebrated its maiden Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am podium finish on home soil this weekend with an excellent comeback performance during Sunday's action-packed three hour contest on the Silverstone GP circuit. (May 15).

The #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, piloted by Ahmad Al Harthy, Devon Modell and Jonny Adam finished 2nd in class narrowly missing out on the top spot after an epic last lap dash to claim the Kent-based squad's first ever podium finish in the Blancpain Endurance Series. The weekend's strong results also see the Oman-backed squad move into second place in the Team and Driver standings – a mere three points off the Pro-Am Championship lead.

"I think this weekend was right up there as one of my most enjoyable GT races"commented David Bartrum, Oman Racing Team Principal. "It was a fantastic feeling for the team and the drivers, everyone did a great job. It was great to have so many Omani supporters with us in the garage and to have them supporting Ahmad and the team just added to the atmosphere of the occasion.”

Blancpain podium joy for the Oman Racing Team at Silverstone"Getting our first ever Blancpain podium at our home circuit was just brilliant;"Bartrum added. "I think the whole team and the drivers deserved it and we can build from the first two rounds this year. Going forward we're showing the strength of the team and the drivers and we're really enjoying our racing."

After posting competitive times during Saturday's free practice and pre-qualifying sessions, the Oman Racing Team squad's hopes of a strong qualifying position looked dismal when a wheel nut failure caused the right rear wheel to come off during Modell's qualifying run. A swift turnaround by the Motorbase-crew saw Al Harthy set a timed lap in Q2 before handing over to Adam who delivered a class performance in the #44 Vantage to secure 3rd in the Pro-Am class and 10th overall for the afternoon's three hour race.

Modell took the opening stint racing against many of the best drivers on the grid and the 25-year-old did well to maintain 3rd in class during the opening despite dropping back into 18th overall. Pitting early on in the window, Modell handed the Vantage over to Al Harthy just before the hour mark. A hold up in the pit lane unfortunately saw the #44 slip back into 5th in class, 23rd overall  but the Omani immediately set to work moving up through the field and back into podium contention reclaiming 3rd in class by lap 36.

Blancpain podium joy for the Oman Racing Team at SilverstoneWith debris on track the safety car was deployed just before the halfway mark and Al Harthy closed the gap on the second placed Pro-Am #34 Ferrari, running in 18th overall before heading into the pits for the final handover to Adam. A perfectly executed pit stop saw Adam re-join 3rd in class, P20 overall with just over an hour remaining on the clock where he quickly moved past the Ferrari to take 2nd in class.  A second extended full course yellow safety car period with just 40 minutes left to run bunched the field up and when the race restarted almost 20 minutes later Adam was in the midst of a nail-biting battle between the leading three Pro-Am cars as the race approached its closing laps.

Trading places with the #56 Mercedes and #74 Audi in the final 10 minutes, the trio raced side by side as they battled hard for Pro-Am honours. Despite struggling with power steering issues, Adam saved the best until last and pulled off an ambitious move from 3rd on the final lap to snatch 2nd in class and 18th place overall for the Oman Racing Team.

Driver Quotes:   

Jonny Adam:

Blancpain podium joy for the Oman Racing Team at Silverstone"A fantastic result for the team and a great start to our year so far. We came here aiming for a podium so to get that this weekend was brilliant. The battle at the last six or seven laps for the Pro-Am win was great, it was like going back to a sprint race!

"We've ticked a good few boxes today taking a home podium for Motorbase and also for the Aston but I think it also highlights how good our last result at Monza was on a bad circuit for us.  Silverstone was always going to be a strong circuit for us but to do it with all of Ahmad's sponsors and friends here feels special. You can see what a spring it's put in the guys' step to get our first podium in the Championship and it shows the effort that Ahmad and Devon have been making as well; it's a full team effort and well deserved podium."

Ahmad Al Harthy:

"Seeing Devon on three tyres in qualifying was definitely something that we didn't want to see but we knew that it wasn't a fault of him or the team, it was a mechanical issue. The marshals and team did a great job to get the car back quickly and after my one lap Jonny did a marvellous job to get P10 and 3rd in class.

"We knew what we needed to do in the race; everything went as we planned in the pit stops and Jonny did what he does best and fought to get our first podium as the Oman Racing Team. It's what we've all been working towards and it feels special to do it here at Silverstone – it's great for the team, my sponsors and all of our supporters so a massive thank you to everybody. We always believed in ourselves and this is the result of hard work by everyone in the team, we went back after Monza and lifted our game and achieved something great today."

Devon Modell:

"Qualifying didn't exactly go to plan returning to the pits on the back of a truck with a wheel missing but thankfully it was all upwards from there! Jonny put a mega lap in to put us 10th on the grid and we managed to stay out of trouble and in contention from the start of the race. It was quite hard to watch from the pits at the end, seeing everyone's reactions in the garages as we battled for places didn't help anyone's stress levels but a great race for spectators and a real testament to the racing that it came down to a five lap battle at the end."

Full footage of the Silverstone race can be found on the official Championship YouTube channel here: with an extended highlights programme shown on MotorsTV at 15:15 tomorrow, Tuesday May 17.

A six hour challenge awaits the Oman Racing Team next when the Blancpain Endurance Cup heads to Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France for round 3 on June 24/25.