European le mans series – Portimao – 21 OCTOber 2022
podium finish draws elms season to a close
The European Le Mans Series drew to a close at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve over the weekend, and the #69 Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin line-up was back in action. Sam De Haan and teammates Ahmad Alharthy and Marco Sorenson were in the fight all weekend at the front of the field, and a strong performance in challenging conditions delivered a second podium, finishing in P2.
Working hard to improve over each session, the black Vantage GTE steadily climbed the timesheets, and was among the lead quartet battling for pole position during a sunny qualifying on Saturday. Sam’s teammate, Ahmad, once again taking on qualifying duties and would line-up on the second row of the grid heading into the four-hour race.
The race got underway in extremely challenging conditions, with rain falling during the formation laps but with the majority of the field running with slick tyres. A very careful but clinical start by Ahmad moved the #69 up the order, and within two laps the Omani racer was leading the race. From here, he maintained position for the next few laps as the circuit gradually dried out and grip levels increased.
As the race continued, the #69 Aston Martin defended the lead, before dropping back a position ahead of the race’s first Full Course Yellow intervention. As pitstops then continued to play out over the remainder of his stint, Ahmad moved between the top two positions, pitting just ahead of middle-distance to switch for Sam.
With Sam now belted in the car, he took to the circuit in different conditions to that which he had last experienced the track during the free practice session. Despite this, Sam was quickly up to speed and running in the final podium position as the pitstop strategies shuffled out around him. A strong stint was interrupted, again, by a further caution period as Sam dropped out of the top three for the first time. Undeterred, Sam maintained a solid race pace and completed consistently competitive laptimes around the Algarve circuit as he drew his European Le Mans Series campaign to a close.
With little over an hour remaining, Sam signed off his championship as he exited the cockpit of the #69 Aston Martin, having set up the final stint for Marco with an extremely strong run. From here, Marco rejoined the track in in P6, but he quickly dispatched of two positions before a further Full Course Yellow. With the pack now reformed, and any advantage of the leading pack neutralised, Marco made up a further position when the race restarted, and then progressed to take large amounts of time out of the podium running competition. A final move for position secured P2 as he continued to post the car’s quickest laptimes, before a final caution was thrown after the Oman Racing with TF Sport sister car was involved in a race-ending incident in the closing stages. The final sprint to line saw the #69 complete the 4 Hours of Portimao in P2, and secure fifth in the overall championship standings.
“A huge effort by the whole team, this weekend, and over the duration of the season. It has been a huge learning curve for me, personally, and the biggest challenge I’ve faced. Saying that, however, I have loved it and it is great to sign off the championship with another podium finish. We had some struggles earlier in the year with pace, but it was a huge achievement to take a win in my rookie year, and then we have just been chipping away at every round. The Oman Racing with TF Sport crew is world-class, and it has been great racing alongside Marco and Ahmad. We have shown we can take the fight to the competition, and I have learnt so much. Looking forward to seeing what comes next. Watch this space…”
european le mans series – 27 september 2022
spa weekend brings a top-4 finish
Sam was back in GTE action at the weekend, as the European Le Mans Series arrived at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Running in the #69 Oman Racing with TF Sport, Sam and teammates Ahmad Al Harthy and Marco Sorensen eventually crossed the line in P4 after 4 hard fought hours…
gt world challenge europe – 5 September 2022
Battling effort after initial bad fortune on hockenheim debut
Sam made his debut at Hockenheim over the weekend, returning to the Fanatic GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup with Barwell Motorsport. However, an early puncture forced an unscheduled stop, leading to a recovery drive over the remainder of the 3-hour battle…