A superb fourth-place finish in the Gulf 12 Hours was the reward for Oman Racing with TF Sport after a strong recovery drive through the field Saturday (15 December) as the team – in conjunction with Aston Martin Racing – made its competitive debut with the next generation Vantage GT3.
With the rules stipulating that four stops must be taken under green conditions in each of the two six-hour portions of the race, it was the timing of an early safety car that put the team on the back foot. After qualifying third, Darren Turner started the race in the #97 Oman car, maintaining position whilst shadowing the LMP3 Graff car ahead.
At just past the one-hour mark, the safety car pulled in and the team pitted for the first time. However, the Vantage was running on fumes and following the stop, simply would not fire due to the lack of fuel pressure. Once running again, Ahmad Al Harthy continued 16th overall, sixth in class, but crucially two laps down.
With over ten hours of racing ahead, the Oman team pushed on and by the end of the first six-hour race, had regained sixth position in the GT Pro class. After a two-hour break, the racing resumed with Jonny Adam moving ahead of the #27 for position. A puncture and suspension issue for two of the team’s rivals moved us fourth overall with two hours remaining.
With a hint of a podium position – and now back on the lead lap – Darren pushed hard throughout his final stint, but ultimately the much hoped for safety car never materialised and the team had to settle for fourth position in what is the final race in a very busy season. The fuel pressure issue aside, the new Vantage never missed a beat on its competitive debut, which bodes well for the team ahead of the 2019 season.
Tom Ferrier, TF Sport Director
“All-in-all a very good performance. A story of Ahmad’s year of what could have been. The energy everyone put in for our last race of a very long year was fantastic and we cannot wait to get started with the new cars and challenges of 2019. But first some rest!”
Ahmad Al Harthy
“We had a very solid performance overall, only one glitch which meant we had to do a quick re-boot in the pits early on and that put us approximately a lap down – so it was extremely hard to try and recover from there, but everyone did a fantastic job.
“We kept climbing back through, kept pushing, and the team, as always, was very professional and we were delighted to be the lead Aston Martin home. It was also a very strong debut for our new car, Abu Dhabi is a tough circuit but everyone at Oman Racing did a really great job.”
“It was great to achieve a solid result for the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 on its customer debut with TF Sport. The team really worked hard on improving the car with set up and it was enjoyable to drive over the 12-hour race. Massive thank you to everyone at Oman Racing with TF Sport and my teammates Ahmad and Darren for the weekend.”
“We were so close to achieving a podium with the new Vantage GT3 here in Abu Dhabi for the Gulf 12H. I’m sure if the race had been 13 hours, we would have had the time to chase down third place. In part one we lost a huge amount of time during the first pit stop when the #97 wouldn’t start as Ahmed tried to pull away. The safety car came out just at the wrong time so when we did final pit the car was running on fumes. After the being refuelled the car didn’t want to start and this ultimately dropped us a lap which we were never able to recover from.
“We still had a very strong race with the car performing extremely well in the heat. It was a great way to finish 2018 and certainly it gives us all plenty of information about the car for next year. As ever it is always great to join Oman Racing with TF Sport and share a car with Jonny and Ahmad. The team performed faultless over the weekend as they adapted to running the new car.”