Harper Fights Back To Top Ten Finish On Monza Debut
Porsche Carrera Cup GB star Daniel Harper overcame first race heartbreak to produce a brilliant comeback drive from the back of the grid to eighth position during a rollercoaster maiden visit to Monza this past weekend (12/13 May).
Harper showed blistering pace around the legendary Italian circuit as he stormed to a maiden Carrera Cup GB pole position in only his third qualifying session in the series, before showcasing his racing prowess as he fought through the field in race two following opening race misfortune.
Racing outside the UK for the first time in his blossoming career, the 2018/19 Porsche GB Junior driver was immediately on the pace around the 3.6 mile circuit during Friday’s two free practice sessions, finishing second on the timesheets in both.
Harper would go on to experience the real highs and lows of motorsport the following day, starting with a sublime performance in qualifying that secured him a first Carrera Cup GB pole position by nearly two tenths of a second in his IFS Global Logistics-backed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
The opening race would unfortunately prove to be a nightmare for the seventeen year old however as following a slow start, a lock-up under braking at the opening corner would cause him to lose control of the rear of his car and make race-ending contact with the leader.
A fantastic effort by the JTR team ensured Harper’s car was repaired ahead of race two the following morning, and he rewarded their endeavours with a tremendous drive through the field from a lowly twenty-second position on the grid.
In his fonaCAB, Daily Bake and McGaughey Refrigerated Distribution supported machine, Harper avoided a first corner incident ahead to immediately rise to fifteenth place by the end of the first lap, before the action was halted by the emergence of the safety car.
Once the action resumed with twenty minutes to go, the Hillsborough-based racer would show great racecraft as he gained five more positions in less than three laps to slot himself into the top ten, before he gained ninth position the next time around.
Harper would battle his way up to seventh place at one stage, before eventually settling for eighth at the chequered flag to complete a brilliant drive through the field, which ensured that the Dromore High School student ended the weekend with some crucial championship points.
Daniel Harper: “It was one of those weekends that promised so much but sadly wasn’t meant to be. I have learnt a lot of things on and off track this weekend, which will only benefit me as both a racing driver and a person in the future.
“I’m delighted to have taken my first pole position in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB so early in the season, and to have once again shown that I have the speed to fight at the front of the field against much more experienced Porsche drivers.
“I was gutted by the incident in race one. It was a silly mistake from me as I misjudged my braking point and the consequences were huge for not only me, but a number of other drivers including two of my team-mates, and I can only apologise to them.
“I can’t thank the JTR team enough for standing by me and getting the car fixed. They gave me a perfect car all weekend and I’m glad I could start to repay their efforts with a top ten finish in race two. A massive thank you as well to my sponsors for all their support.”
The 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season continues in four weeks’ time (09/10 June) with Rounds Seven and Eight at Oulton Park in Cheshire.