A promising performance from the Oman Racing Team during this weekend’s (11/12 April) Blancpain Endurance Series season opener at Monza ended in disappointment with qualifying issues scuppering the Motorbase-run squad’s chance of a strong finish.
The #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 faced a formidable challenge with 58 GT cars taking to the world-famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit. Despite an encouraging start, Oman Racing Team drivers Daniel Lloyd, Ahmad Al Harthy and Jonny Adam ultimately ended the three hour contest in sixteenth place in the Pro Cup class with an overall P26 finish.
Lloyd set an impressive pace in the opening qualifying stint, taking ninth overall and sixth in the Pro Cup class. Unluckily for the Oman Racing Team, red flag incidents prevented Al Harthy and Adam from building on the position with the squad posting a combined position of P20.
The opening first hour progressed well with Lloyd pushing the Aston into 11th place before handing over to Al Harthy. Unfortunately pit stop complications meant that the team lost almost a full minute in the pits and the #44 Vantage dropped way down the order.
Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam took the final stint of the season opener, managing to work his way up into P27 but a safety car incident in the closing laps prohibited his chances of any further improvements.
Despite being disappointed with weekend’s results, David Bartrum’s squad remains positive about the Blancpain season ahead following a solid performance from drivers and crew. “We know that there’s great potential in the car and under different circumstances we would have been looking at a top ten finish this weekend;” said Team Principal David Bartrum.
“We have some work to do on the Aston to reach its full potential and I feel sure that we’ll be in the mix at Silverstone. The team and drivers worked really well under difficult circumstances; unfortunately it was just one of those weekends where things didn’t go our way.”
Ahmad Al Harthy:
“Blancpain is the strongest and biggest GT championship in the world, so as soon as you have a couple of problems it really does have a big impact. We’re positive, though, as we learned so much and we’re looking forward to the next round. First it’s British GT, though, and we are determined to do well there.”
“I think that Monza’s not the best circuit for the Aston; it’s much more suited to Silverstone and Spa but I’m massively confident that the car will be right up there in terms of pace and performance at the next round at Silverstone.
“The end result doesn’t really justify where we should have finished overall. I was highly impressed with the Motorbase team and how they worked. The set up on the car was lovely and it was good to share the seat with Dan and Ahmad, get that first weekend under our belts and we now know how each other want the car set up and each other’s strengths. Just one of those weekends unfortunately, but we have plenty of positives to take away.”
“Not the weekend or the results that we wanted but we still have some really good positives to take away from it. I had good pace in my test and I was really happy with my times on a circuit that I’d never been to before so that was great and something that we can build on for the next round at Silverstone where the Aston should be better suited.”