Belfast Telegraph

Daniel Harper (15) steals the show with victory in fifth ever race at UK Ginetta Junior Championship

By Sammy Hamill

It was a weekend of podium places all round for Ulster's rising racing stars at two of Britain's top circuits.

While former champion Colin Turkington was enduring a tough time in the British Touring Car series at Donington, young guns Wayne Boyd, Charlie Eastwood and Daniel Harper were riding the crest of a wave.

Boyd took second place in LMP3 on his European Le Mans Championship debut at Silverstone where Eastwood scored two third place finishes in the Porsche Carrera Cup but it was the youngest of the lot, 15-year-old Daniel Harper, who shone brightest.

The Dromore High School student had a sensational couple of days at Donington, going 3-2-1 in the trio of UK Ginetta Junior Championship races at the grand prix circuit.

A multi-champion in karts and quads, he had never driven a racing car until he came top of the Ginetta scholarship competition, earning himself a sponsored drive in the series.

And Harper is making the most of the opportunity, emerging leading rookie after the first two rounds at Brands Hatch. But at Donington he stepped up a level, contesting the lead in races one and two and gaining two podium finishes.

In race three, starting sixth on the reverse grid, Harper charged up to third and fought a ferocious duel with two previous race winners, Lewis Brown and William Tregurtha, before emerging as the winner - in just his fifth ever race.

He is now third in the standings behind his Douglas Motorsport team-mate Stuart Middleton and Dave Wooder as well as extending his lead in the rookie category.

After two top six places at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago, Eastwood, another scholarship winner, took his first Porsche Cup podium at Silverstone on Saturday and followed up with a repeat yesterday, finishing third behind two of the most experienced drivers in the series, Dan Cammish and Dino Zamperelli.

Boyd's United Autosport team took the top two places on the ELMS podium with their LMP3 Ligiers at Silverstone, the former British Formula Ford champion taking second place alongside Matt Bell and Mark Patterson behind the sister car of Alex Brundle, Michael Guasch and Christian England.

Jonny Kane's Strakka team were a disappointing 10th, fifth in LMP2, in the first round of the World Endurance series as Audi took the win at Silverstone.

With Team BMR still struggling to get their new Subarus up to speed, Turkington battled his way to 10th in the first of the three BTCC races at Donington but was punted off the track in race two and was 18th in race three from the back of the grid, finishing one place behind the Toyota of Carrick rookie Chris Smylie.

Meanwhile, Desi Henry won the Moonraker Rally in his Skoda Fabia ahead of Pat O'Connell (Mitsubishi) and Brendan Cumiskey (Ford Fiesta).

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