Omani comeback star could inspire Al Harthy to more Porsche GT3 Cup success
06.12.2011: Al Harthy thanks rally ace for guiding his career as Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East heads back to Abu Dhabi
Omanís Ahmad Al Harthy Ė looking for more Porsche GT3 Cup race success in Abu Dhabi later this
Al Harthy thanks rally ace for guiding his career as Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East heads back to Abu Dhabi
Oman’s Ahmad Al Harthy – looking for more Porsche GT3 Cup race success in Abu Dhabi later this month.
Ahmad Al Harthy says the fellow-Omani driver who helped launch his racing career could inspire him to another victory when the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East returns to Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi later this month.
Al Harthy gives much of the credit for his circuit racing success to Hamed Al Wahaibi, the Sultanate’s best ever rally driver, who turned back the clock on his return to international competition in Dubai last weekend, six years after retiring.
“I followed his progress through the local press reports and it was great to see him back in action in Dubai,” said Al Harthy. “He’s been a mentor to me, and one of the most important influences on my career.
“It was exciting to see him make his comeback and it’s given me some extra inspiration. I’m looking forward to seeing him continue now, and between us we may be able to help motor sport in Oman grow to a new level.”
Al Harthy announced his arrival as a genuine title contender in the Porsche GT3 Cup series with a superb first victory at Yas Marina Circuit last month after clinching pole position for Rounds 3 and 4.
Currently lying third in the 12-round championship, he now aims for a repeat performance in Rounds 5 and 6 in Abu Dhabi on December 15-16 to put more pressure on the men in front of him, series leader Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal and his fellow-Saudi, Bandar Alesayi.
“I was very happy with my performance in Abu Dhabi in the last two rounds, and the desire is there to win as many more races as I can,” he said. “I’m even more excited now to be part of the Porsche GT3 Cup series. The most important thing is to keep learning every time I go on the track.
“Abdulaziz is the man to beat based on his overall performance so far, but Bandar has shown great pace as well and I’m really pleased to be racing against drivers of this calibre.”
When he needed advice about a move into circuit racing after originally entering karting as a seven-year-old, Al Harthy turned to Arab rally star Al Wahaibi – his wife’s cousin – just as the former WRC Group N runner-up was entering retirement from motor sport.
“I was looking to enter the Thunder Arabia Middle East Championship and Hamed helped me to establish the Oman Racing Team,” said Al Harthy. “He was able to offer me so much in terms of his support and his experience. One of the things I remember most is that he told me he had learnt from his mistakes.
“While I was the only circuit racer in the country, it was so important to have someone from the world of rallying to help me because there are so many similarities between the two. He was the catalyst that helped me start my career.”
After finishing fourth in the Dubai International Rally, Al Wahaibi is set to launch a new team into next year’s FIA Middle East Rally Championship to encourage more young drivers from the Sultanate.
They will have two Omani drivers to look up to as Al Harthy chases the Porsche GT3 Cup title to the end of the 2011-12 season in Bahrain next March.
Al Harthy – inspired by Oman rally star Hamed Al Wahaibi.
Championship positions after Round 4
1. Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA) Saudi Falcons 72pts 2. Bandar Alesayi (KSA) Alesayi Racing 68pts 3. Ahmad Al Harthy (OM) Oman Air Racing 66pts 4. Stephane Lemeret (BEL) Al Nabooda Racing 58pts 5. Saeed Al Mouri KSA) Saudi Falcons 46pts 6. Saddon Al Kuwari (QA) 34pts 7. Mark Thomas (CAN) 27pts 8. Hans Guido Riegel (GER) Haribo Racing 24pts 9. Hannes Waimer (GER) 23pts 10. Clemens Schmid (AUT) 20pts 10. Armin Schmid CH Team TCE
Mobil 1 Trophy
1. Sadoon Al Kuwari (QA) 80pts 2. Hannes Waimer (GER) 63pts 3. Hans Guido Riegel (GER) Haribo Racing 62pts 4. Fawaz Algosaibi (KSA) ClassicArabia Racing 54pts 4. Rob Frijns (NL) 44pts 6. Manfred Ender (AUT) 33pts 7. Jaber Al Khalifa (BAH) 22pts 8. Alain Muraour (F) 10pts
Total Communications, Tony Lewis/Ahmad Huzayen, also photos
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