Daniel Harper secured a sensational fourth win of the season so far at Oulton Park this past weekend (29/30 June) to extend his championship advantage heading into the Porsche Carrera Cup GB’s summer break.
That victory means the 2018/19 Porsche Junior driver has now taken a race win in four consecutive meetings, a feat last achieved in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in 2016 and one that has only been done by two other drivers in the last eight years of the championship.
Oulton Park had already held fond memories for Harper as the scene of his maiden Porsche victory twelve months ago, and the Northern Irishman immediately laid down a marker this time around as he topped the timesheets in both of Friday’s free practice sessions.
In the sweltering Cheshire sunshine, Harper stepped up to another level in qualifying on Saturday as he posted a new qualifying lap record around the Oulton Park Island circuit, with his blistering effort of 1m 21.617s securing him a third pole position out of four so far this season.
The opening race of the weekend took place that afternoon and the 18 year old got a magnificent launch off the line to lead the field through the first corner in his JTR machine. From there, he edged clear to build a two second gap within the first six laps of the race.
Coping well with the added challenge of extremely high temperatures inside the cockpit of his Porsche, the BRDC Rising Star produced a supreme performance to maintain his advantage and lead every lap en-route to victory, his third lights-to-flag success of the campaign.
Harper headed into race two on Sunday afternoon knowing he faced an uphill struggle. The reverse grid draw put him fifth at the start, and with overtaking renowned to be difficult around the narrow Oulton Park circuit, his focus was on bringing the car home for a solid points haul.
A terrific launch off the line in his IFS Global Logistics backed Porsche almost gained Harper a position heading into the first corner, but after having to concede on that occasion, he made fourth place his heading through the same bend a lap later.
That put the Hillsborough-based racer right on the tail of title rival Lewis Plato. Despite being visibly quicker than the car ahead throughout the race, Harper elected not to make a risky overtaking move and held fourth to the finish, with the added bonus of the fastest lap of the race to his name.
The fonaCAB, McGaughey Refrigerated Distribution, J&J Conlon & Sons and MIS Motorsport Insurance supported driver now holds a 20 point lead at the top of the standings heading into the championship’s summer break, with the next rounds coming at Thruxton on 17/18 August.
Daniel Harper: “It's been another fantastic weekend! I loved Oulton Park in the Porsche last year and it was the same again this time around. It’s such a fantastic circuit and you really get to have some fun behind the wheel when you’re pushing the limits on a quick lap.
“The high temperatures made it difficult through the weekend, in particular keeping concentration behind the wheel. It was particularly hot in qualifying, so I was delighted to have strung a lap together to get pole position by quite a good margin.
“I knew that getting to the first corner in the lead was crucial in race one and fortunately I achieved it. From there, I got a two second gap quite quickly and then focused on maintaining that to the finish. The JTR car was perfect and they really did an awesome job this weekend.
“It was frustrating in race two that I was so much quicker than the car ahead. I genuinely felt I had the pace to win the race, but it’s a narrow circuit in these cars and after all the hard work to get the points in qualifying and race one, I wasn’t going to waste it with a risky overtaking move.
“The opening half of the season has been phenomenal for me, with four wins, two other podium finishes, three pole positions and five fastest laps. There’s still a long way to go though, so our approach won’t change and I’ll come back at Thruxton ready to challenge for the wins.”
Harper’s next race action will come in two weeks’ time (12-14 July) as he makes his debut in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup on the support bill for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The race will be televised live on Eurosport and Sky Sports F1 at 11.15am on the Sunday morning.
Harper: “I couldn’t be more excited to be competing in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Silverstone. Myself and JTR are taking on the best Porsche Carrera Cup drivers in the world and it’s going to be a great challenge for us. I’ll be savouring every moment of the experience.”
Image from Dan Bathie/Porsche.