Muscat: Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy produced excellent pace during his maiden FIA World Endurance Championship qualifying session at Sebring International Raceway on 16th March, to secure a highly competitive third on the GTE Am grid for the first race of 2023.
Having progressed well with team-mates Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood throughout the various testing and free practice sessions during the week, Al Harthy’s first ever visit to the American track, the Oman Racing with TF Sport trio headed into qualifying in quietly confident mood.
Al Harthy climbed behind the wheel of the No.25 Aston Martin GTE for Thursday evening’s session and the FIA WEC debutant delivered a fantastic performance. Ending the run with a best time of 1m59.657 seconds (181.1 km/h), he secured the third fastest time and only just missed out on the GTE Am front row by 0.3 seconds.
As well as emerging as the fastest of the Aston Martin entries, the Omani – supported by Oman Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, OQ, Omantel and MHD-ITICS – was notably happy with the overall handling and performance of his car.
Now looking forward to returning to the six kilometre track for the start of his maiden race in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Al Harthy is hopeful the hard work completed by the team over the past few days in Florida will continue to bear fruit in the big eight hour race – the eagerly awaited 1,000 miles of Sebring.
Ahmad Al Harthy said: “I’m really happy with our performance from qualifying, it was a great start to my first ever WEC qualifying and at a new circuit as well. I think we got the maximum we could from our strategy and our performance. In terms of the race, it’s going to be a very long race at eight hours and a lot can happen. We want to have a good race where we can run our own pace and strategy and see where we end up. I’m really happy with how things have gone so far and I’m looking forward to the race.”
The first race of the FIA World Endurance Championship season gets underway at 12.00 local time (20.00 Oman time) on Friday, 17th March, at Sebring.