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Oman Racing Team denied 2nd Blancpain podium in Paul Ricard

June 28th 2016

Oman Racing Team denied 2nd Blancpain podium in Paul Ricard

There was frustration for the Motorbase Performance squad during round three of the Blancpain Endurance Cup when suspension failure cost the Oman Racing Team's Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 a podium finish in the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000km (24/25 June).

The #44 Aston Martin, driven by Ahmad Al Harthy, Jonny Adam and Devon Modell faced a fantastic entry of 57 GT cars for the six-hour night race on the spectacular French circuit. David Bartrum's squad arrived in the South of France determined to continue its impressive form shown during the opening two rounds of the championship and set on challenging for a second consecutive podium finish. Unfortunately, time lost in the pits due to a failed suspension component meant that the Kent-based outfit ended the race thirteenth in the Pro-Am Cup class, 33rd overall.

The third race meeting of the Blancpain campaign didn't get off to the best start for the Oman Racing Team with engine issues ruling the #44 Vantage out of most of Friday's bronze test session. A battling performance during Saturday's qualifying session saw Jonny Adam net the squad's best lap, securing a P24 start for the 6-hour evening race.

Al Harthy and Modell completed two strong stints each in the Vantage during the opening four hours of the contest, running as high as 12th overall and 2nd in the Pro-Am class before handing over to Adam for his scheduled double-stint for the final leg of the night race. After a faultless pit-stop and handover by the Motorbase squad, Adam re-joined the race and settled in to continue his challenge on the Pro-Am leaders when disaster struck. With just over two hours remaining on the clock, Adam was forced to nurse the Aston Martin back into the pits with a broken front-left wishbone.

Oman Racing Team denied 2nd Blancpain podium in Paul RicardDespite a superb turnaround by the crew and best efforts from the entire team, the time lost proved too costly and the team's hopes of claiming a podium spot faded with Adam eventually crossing the line in 13th in the Pro-Am class, 33rd overall.

The weekend's results leave the Oman Racing Team in 5th place in the Pro-Am Team standings with Al Harthy, Adam and Modell currently 4th in the Drivers' Championship as the Blancpain Endurance Cup prepares for next month's blue-riband event - the Total 24 hours of Spa. The most famous and renowned GT3 race in the world takes place on the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on 28-31 July. Before then, the Oman Racing Team heads to Spa next Tuesday, 5 July for the official test day ahead of the 24-hour race.

Driver quotes:

Ahmad Al Harthy: 
Oman Racing Team denied 2nd Blancpain podium in Paul Ricard"Everyone is so, so disappointed – all of the guys did such an amazing job and the podium was there for us, maybe even the Pro-Am win. Almost as soon as Jonny went out in the car, with about two hours to go, the front-left wishbone broke and that was it.

"We were looking unbelievably strong up to that point, everything had gone so well. Our strategy was perfect, the pit-stops were perfect, our driving was consistent and we made sure we stayed out of trouble. Everyone did such a great job and it was no fault of anyone – just one of those things. We have so many positives to take away to Spa though; we'll be back even stronger."

Jonny Adam: 
"Other than the result there are positives to take away from Paul Ricard. The team were bang-on with the pit stops, the car was running well and again Ahmad and Devon drove two really good stints in the race. It was frustrating to come away without the result we wanted but then I've seen people come into this Championship at Spa and win the title so it shows how important the next race is and we need to take advantage of that.

"We have a good car that's easy to drive which is key heading into the 24 hour race. With so many points on offer Spa is the one we need to nail down. We'll be working hard at the test next week to make sure we head to Spa at the top of our game."

Oman Racing Team denied 2nd Blancpain podium in Paul RicardDevon Modell:
"It was all going to plan for the first four hours! The team pulled a blinding strategy on the tyres and pit-stops and we were running in P2 before the component failed.  It would have all been perfect with a win well and truly on the cards, but these things happen unfortunately. The team did a great job sorting the engine problem on Friday and during the race. They all worked really hard, it's just a shame that we didn't get the result was deserved.

"Taking the positives into the 24 hour race; we've got the race pace and the team are on the ball with the strategy.  There are a lot of points available at Spa so a good result will help to make up for a disappointing weekend and get us back in Championship contention."