Oman Racing finishes second in Pro-Am class
It's two podium finishes in a row for the Oman Racing trio of Ahmad al Harthy, Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood. The trio had ended third but a late jury decision handed it a runner-up spot after the initial winning team was penalised in the Pro-Am class of the second round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at the Silverstone circuit in UK on Sunday.
Oman Racing was placed overall 23rd among 48 cars.
The trio had begun the 2019 Blancpain series with a podium finish (third-place) in the opening round in Monza, Italy.
The team had qualified with Pro-Am pole position in both the rounds but on Sunday, Oman Racing's push for a win was impeded by an untimely Full Course Yellow (FCY) period, where cars have to slow down to a restricted speed, line up and maintain the distance to each other, without the use of a safety car.
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 racers started the day perfectly on Pro-Am pole position to set-up a realistic chance of challenging for a first victory of 2019.
But the introduction of FCY after the team's first pit stop damaged the chances. Ahmad was P2 when he made the pit stop but at one stage led his class before handing it to Yoluc for the second hour. Eastwood brought the car third in the class.
Later, a time penalty for the victorious Mercedes-AMG elevated Oman Racing into second behind AF Corse Ferrari of Niek Hommerson, Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini.
Following the amended results, Oman Racing is also second in the Pro-Am standings as the season heads to the halfway point at Paul Ricard in France on June 1.
Ahmad said, “For the first three laps everyone was trying to fight hard for position. It was very difficult, but once I got my rhythm I managed to recover to second and we were really catching first. Passing backmarkers and so on made it a yo-yo effect between us.
“Salih had a difficult stint with safety cars and FCY, but then Charlie did an amazing job to bring us back from fifth to a podium.
“That’s what we want this year, podiums and consistency. We know we have stronger pace that is going to come in the next few races.”
Ahmad added, “Overall, I’m happy with the performance and it’s always great to go back to Oman with another podium.”
SMP Racing gave Ferrari its first Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup pro victory.
The trio of Mikhail Aleshin, Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon started the three-hour race from tenth in its Ferrari 488 GT3 and kept its composure throughout an action-packed race to return the Maranello brand to the top step of the podium.