Oman Racing bags pole at Monza
Oman Racing had a dream start to its 2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season when its trio of Ahmad al Harthy, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc bagged a pole in the Pro-Am category during a rain-hit qualifying session of the opening round in Monza, Italy on Sunday morning.
Competing in tricky conditions, Ahmad along with his other teammates, overcame the pre-qualifying jitters to emerge with the best combined times for the three-hour GT series race scheduled to be held later in the evening.
The trio stayed cool throughout despite the challenges of a rain-hit circuit and several red flags.
Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR, the 2017 class champion side began its title assault in ideal fashion with a combined time of 2m:08.177s.
Yoluc was the first to get on the wheels and clocked 2:11.435 in wet conditions. Ahmad was next and ended with a time of 2:08.393 while Eastwood came up with the fastest time of 2:04.703 for a deserving pole.
Ram Racing team of Remon Bos and Tom Onslow-Cole took P2 in the category with a combined time of 2:10.733.
A total of seven teams are in fray in the category in the opening round of the ninth season of the Blancpain series that features a massive grid of 49 cars in four categories – open, silver, Pro-Am and Am.
The Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan will start at the overall pole after the crew of Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Rolf Ineichen combined to produce an average lap of 2m05.295s.
Speaking after the pole, Eastwood said, "Salih, Ahmad and the whole team did an amazing job. It was a very tricky session and keeping the car on the tarmac was a lot harder than I expected. Being here with the new Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 and starting from pole is obviously the best for us. Hopefully we will manage to stay at the front in the race.”
Earlier on Friday, the Oman Racing trio had to settle for sixth fastest in both the pre-qualifying sessions.