- Simon Paice
Daniel Harper Signs Off Title-Winning Porsche Campaign With Finale Victory
Newly-crowned Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Daniel Harper capped off his hugely successful 2019 campaign in style with a brilliant eighth win of the year during the season finale weekend at Brands Hatch (12/13 October). Two weeks’ on from wrapping up the title with three races to spare during the penultimate meeting of the year at Silverstone, the 2018/19 Porsche GB Junior driver brought his memorable season to a close with two races around the world-famous Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. Constantly changing weather conditions during free practice on Friday set the tone for a tricky weekend ahead. Qualifying on Saturday in particular proved to be a tough one for the Northern Irishman as he aimed to extend his stunning pole position record for the year. Unfortunately fluctuating rain showers led to no less than three red flag stoppages through the session, which coupled with traffic issues on flying laps led to Harper not getting a real chance to showcase his true pace as he qualified seventh overall. The 18 year old headed into race day determined to move up the field in his IFS Global Logistics and fonaCAB backed Porsche, which still sported the special gold additions to its livery from Silverstone. He started in strong fashion by storming through to fourth on the opening lap of race one. Holding position through two safety car periods, his forward momentum continued once the action resumed as he quickly picked off George Gamble for third. Tio Ellinas was his next target and a dive down the inside at Druids corner got him second spot. Closing the gap to race leader Josh Webster in the closing laps, Harper went for a move at Druids on the final tour but couldn’t make it stick. He crossed the line second on the road, but post-race was handed a time penalty for his move on Ellinas that dropped him to fourth. Gutted to lose out on a podium finish, the BRDC Rising Star was determined to make amends in race two, which was televised live on ITV4. From second on the reverse grid, he immediately stormed into the lead with a brave move around the outside at Paddock Hill Bend. From there, the McGaughey Refrigerated Distribution, J&J Conlon & Sons, MIS Motorsport Insurance and Motorstore NI was in dominant form once again. Pulling clear at the front, he then successfully negotiated a safety car restart on his way to a brilliant race victory. The success means Harper ends the campaign with eight wins, 13 podium finishes, six pole positions and 11 fastest laps to his name – all more than any other driver. He also tied the championship record for winning in six consecutive race weekends in the same season. Daniel Harper: “Winning the final race of the season … the perfect way to end an amazing two years in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB. It’s been a phenomenal season and to end it standing on the top step of the podium with two fastest laps to my name felt fantastic. “The weather had its say again this weekend and qualifying put us right on the backfoot for the races. I went into race day determined to just enjoy myself and I loved every second out there, working my way through the field and ending the year in style. “I have to say a huge thank you to everybody who’s helped me through the last two seasons. In particular to Porsche for giving me this opportunity, to JTR who have given me an amazing car every weekend, and to my sponsors for making this possible.”
Image from Dan Bathie / Porsche GB.