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Superb opening performance nets Oman Racing Team Top 4 Pro-Am finish in Blancpain Endurance Series

April 27th 2016

Superb opening performance nets Oman Racing Team Top 4 Pro-Am finish in Blancpain Endurance Series

A superb performance by the Oman Racing Team on Monza's Autodromo Nazionale circuit last weekend was rewarded with a 4th place Pro-Am class finish for the Motorbase-run outfit during the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series (April 23-24).

The #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, driven by Ahmad Al Harthy, Devon Modell and AMR works driver Jonny Adam faced a fantastic grid of 57 GT3 cars on the world-famous Italian circuit and the new look line-up delivered an impressive team performance, just narrowly missing out on a podium spot.

A strong start to the weekend during Saturday's free practice and pre-qualifying sessions rolled over into Sunday morning's qualifying session with the #44 Aston securing 13th position on the grid, 6th in class and just 0.264 seconds off pole in the hugely competitive field.

Superb opening performance nets Oman Racing Team Top 4 Pro-Am finish in Blancpain Endurance SeriesAl Harthy took the opening stint and immediately set to work moving the Oman-backed Aston up through the order and had expertly made his way up into the top ten as the field completed the second lap. The Omani continued to battle his way through the Pro-Cup competitors with an outstanding drive up into 6th place overall and 2nd in class as the first mandatory pit stops took place.

Handing over to Modell after lap 31, the pit-stop reshuffle saw the Aston re-join the race in 15th overall, 3rd in class and the 25-year-old drove a strong stint, maintaining position as the race progressed to briefly take the Pro-Am lead before the final round of pit spots.

Aston Martin works driver Adam took over the final driving duties with just under an hour remaining on the clock and the Scotsman quickly went to work to try to close in on the top three Pro-Am spot. Unfortunately the pace of the Ferrari's proved too much for the Aston in the closing laps and the Motorbase-powered Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 crossed the line in 13th overall to take 4th in class.

The Oman Racing Team returns to the track for its home race on May 14-15 as the Blancpain Endurance Series heads to the Home of British Motorsport, Silverstone, for its only UK visit on the calendar.


Team Principal David Bartrum:

Superb opening performance nets Oman Racing Team Top 4 Pro-Am finish in Blancpain Endurance Series"To start any campaign off in Monza is fantastic in itself, but to be there in the sunshine and to get such a solid result on the first race weekend is even better and just the way you would want to start the year.

"Ahmad drove a fantastic opening stint, the best I've ever seen him drive in the all the time that he's been with us and then to consolidate that with the good runs from Devon and then Jonny was great to watch. All three drivers performed well and the car and team all worked faultlessly throughout the weekend. All in all I'm very a happy Team Boss!"

Jonny Adam:

"It was a fantastic weekend for us and to come away from the opening round with points in the bag at this early stage is great for the team. It was so close all weekend, it's unusual to go into a championship as big as the Blancpain with all of the cars so evenly matched and the Aston competed really well against the newer cars. Ahmad's opening stint really set the tone for the race and we were so close to getting our first podium, but to get 4th in class was a great result against such tough competition.

"The boys did a great job with the car as always, it ran faultlessly all weekend. We're all really looking forward to the next round now as our home round at Silverstone. The Aston should suit the circuit really well and we'll be aiming to get a couple of trophies next time out."

Ahmad Al Harthy:

Superb opening performance nets Oman Racing Team Top 4 Pro-Am finish in Blancpain Endurance Series"Personally, that was one of my strongest performances – I enjoyed every minute. It was great to pass so many cars during my stint and Devon and Jonny both did a great job too. The podium was so close for us, but the Ferraris were just too fast this weekend. We'd have taken fourth place though at the start of the weekend.

"The BOP [Balance of Performance] for all of the cars is much better this season, though, and means we can actually overtake which wasn't the case in 2015. I have to say a massive thank you to the team for giving us a great car, and to all of the sponsors for giving us such incredible support."

Devon Modell:

"If you'd had offered us  a  4th in class finish before the weekend then I think we would have all jumped up and down and snatched your arm off so to come away from the weekend a little disappointed I think shows the progress we made and just how competitive we were. It's nice in a way to come away disappointed with such a good result.

"Points in the bag at the first race is always a good start and we brought the car back in one piece. There are a lot of positives to take away from Monza. We've shown this weekend that we have the pace against the competition and that we should be competing at the front this year."

A full highlights programme from Monza can be found on the official Blancpain Endurance Series You Tube Channel: