Daniel Harper has now taken a podium finish in each of the last four Porsche Carrera Cup GB meetings after securing a superb second place finish in the penultimate rounds of the season at Silverstone this past weekend (15/16 September).
Three weeks on from the best weekend of his car-racing career so far at Knockhill, the 2018/19 Porsche GB Junior driver headed to Silverstone confident that he could continue his sensational run of form in the series at a circuit he secured a pair of podium finishes around last year.
The race meeting started in superb fashion during an official test on Wednesday as the Northern Irishman topped the timesheets in wet conditions before finishing second quickest in the dry, and he would carry that pace into free practice on Friday.
Harper ended the day third overall despite being only eight hundredths of a second shy of the fastest time, and remarkably it would be even closer in qualifying the next day as the short, fast Silverstone National layout played host to a stunning battle for pole position.
In his IFS Global Logistics backed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Harper traded top spot with title contenders Dino Zamparelli and Tio Ellinas throughout the session, with just six hundredths of a second splitting the trio at the finish as he took third on the grid for race one.
The 17 year old would unfortunately lose out at the start of Sunday’s opening encounter as he got shuffled back to seventh during a hectic first few laps, but he quickly got into a good rhythm and worked his way back into sixth place on lap six.
That placed Harper right in the thick of the action within a six car train from second position onwards, though unfortunately his next target, JTR team-mate Lewis Plato, would prove to be a formidable opponent to overcome.
Harper’s strength was the run out of Copse corner towards Becketts and after drawing alongside on a couple of occasions, it was third time lucky for the BRDC Rising Star as he grabbed fifth place and then maintained it through to the chequered flag.
With the number four drawn out of the bag, Harper would narrowly miss out on the reverse grid pole position for race two, however that didn’t faze the fonaCAB, Daily Bake and McGaughey Refrigerated Distribution backed racer as he lined up in front of the live ITV4 cameras.
Harper stormed past championship leader Zamparelli on the opening lap to grab fourth place, before posting the fastest lap of the race soon after as he began to close onto the podium battle and pile the pressure on George Gamble ahead.
Some robust defending from Gamble saw Harper forced onto the grass on a couple of occasions, but he was able to find his way past heading into Copse corner on the penultimate lap to take third position, which he held through to the finish.
A time penalty for the driver ahead though ensured the Dromore High School student ended the weekend with a second place finish as part of a superb one-two-three finish for the JTR team, with the result putting Harper just one point shy of fourth in the championship standings.
Daniel Harper: “We’ve ended an up and down meeting on a real high. Our initial pace ahead of the weekend was fantastic and we had a great platform heading into qualifying, which was remarkably even closer fought than any of us could have imagined.
“It wasn’t the best of results in the first race, I got shuffled back on the opening lap and it was tough to get back through, but I can’t really complain too much with fifth and to come back from that the way I did in race two is immensely satisfying.
“It was a proper battle out there and it seemed to be an exciting race both in the car and for everyone watching, with some real close-fought racing. I enjoyed every second of the action and I’m pleased I could gain the ground to second in the end.
“It was great to step onto the podium alongside my team-mates for a JTR one-two-three result. The whole team deserve that reward for all their hard work and I can’t thank them enough for once again giving me a perfect race car across the whole meeting.
“I’m delighted with the podium run we’re on, I feel I’m really in my groove in the series now and I’m going to be giving it everything to try and continue our great pace and end the year in style at Brands Hatch GP, a circuit I love.”
The final rounds of the 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup GB take place around the Grand Prix layout at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time (29/30 September).