Dan Harper Continues Sensational Start With Donington Park Victory
Daniel Harper has extended his lead at the top of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship standings after continuing his outstanding start to the 2019 season with a pair of podium finishes including a race victory at Donington Park this past weekend (27/28 April).
Harper headed to Donington with a rich history there, having taken six podium finishes in the eight races he’d contested at the circuit, including his first ever car racing win in 2016, another win the following year and his maiden Carrera Cup GB podium twelve months ago. The 2018/19 Porsche GB Junior driver posted the fastest time in Leicestershire during an official pre-season test in March and it was the same result in free practice on Friday as he topped the timesheets by a quarter of a second in his JTR prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Unfortunately a gamble with strategy wouldn’t quite pay off during qualifying on Saturday, with Harper topping the timesheets at the halfway mark of the session, however as the track conditions improved he was unable to post a quicker time and ended up fourth fastest. That didn’t faze the Northern Irishman though and a superb start to the opening race on Saturday afternoon saw him storm outside at the first corner to move up to third place, before he pounced on a mistake by the driver ahead to grab second position later in the opening lap. Harper quickly turned his attention to the race leader and after putting some pressure on for a few laps, a great move down the inside into the first corner got him the lead. From there, the 18 year old wasn’t going to be caught and secured his fourth victory in the Carrera Cup GB. The second race of the meeting was the 75th of Harper’s car-racing career so far and the reversed grid draw meant that he would be lining up sixth overall in his IFS Global Logistics and fonaCAB backed Porsche in front of the live ITV television cameras on Sunday. The BRDC Rising Star rose to the challenge ahead of him and emerged from an exciting battle in the opening laps in fifth place. Following a safety car period, Harper immediately grabbed another place and turned his attention to the podium contenders ahead. Harper had to bide his time for a few laps before picking his spot and diving down the inside into the chicane on lap 19. From there, a composed drive saw the Dromore High School student consolidate his position and continue his 100% podium start to 2019. The weekend’s results mean that the McGaughey Refrigerated Distribution, J&J Conlon & Sons and MIS Motorsport Insurance supported driver now holds a seven point lead at the top of the championship standings ahead of the next rounds at Croft in Yorkshire on 15/16 June. Daniel Harper: “I’ve always loved the Donington Park circuit and I really felt at home this weekend. JTR gave me a perfect car for every session and that gave me the confidence to push it to the limits in the races and go for the silverware. “Unfortunately we went for the wrong strategy in qualifying, so to be able to come through in race one was particularly pleasing. The changing conditions meant it felt different on every lap and it was difficult to know how hard to push, but it came together in the end. “Starting sixth in the Carrera Cup GB is never going to be easy so I knew it would be a tough race. I focused on not taking any risks and only made moves when I was 100% sure of them. To get third was fantastic and it caps off a great weekend. “Extending the championship lead is brilliant, but we know there’s a long way to go and we need to keep this form up. Thank you to JTR for all their hard work and to my sponsors for their continued support, including those who came here to support us this weekend.”
Image from Dan Bathie/Porsche.