Belfast Telegraph

Harper in seventh heaven as he and Boyd climb onto Silverstone podium

 

Serial winner: Daniel Harper
Serial winner: Daniel Harper

By Sammy Hamill

Daniel Harper claimed his seventh Porsche Carrera Cup victory of the season on a day of 'what might have been' for his fellow Ulster sports car drivers at Silverstone.

Wayne Boyd was also on the podium at the British Grand Prix circuit which hosted the opening round of the 2019/2020 World Endurance Championship but there was disappointment for Charlie Eastwood who had qualified on pole position in the GTE-AM category.

The youngest of the Ulster quartet, 18-year-old Harper, again demonstrated his enormous potential with pole position, a lights-to flag-win and fastest lap in the first of the two British Porsche races, increasing his lead in the Cup standings.

But the second race yesterday didn't go so smoothly. He was on the second row of the reverse grid and was early in trouble when his JTR Carrera was nudged into a spin by Lewis Plato, dropping him to 11th place.

Harper fought back but a second incident involving Plato saw him lose ground again, slipping to 10th before staging another recovery which brought him up to fourth at the finish as former Cup champion Tom Gamble took the victory.

"Saturday was a perfect day and I was able to break away and control the race from the front," he said. "But in a weird way, I rather enjoyed race two, battling through the field and making plenty of overtaking moves.

"To fight back from 11th to 4th and then 10th to 4th was good and proves how great of a job the JTR team have done with the car."

Boyd was full of praise, too, for his United Autosports team as he and Tommy Erdos and Garett Grist took their third podium finish of the European Le Mans prototype series in their LMP3 Ligier.

A puncture for Grist in the first 15 minutes of the race put them on the back foot but strong drives by Boyd and Erdos allowed them to claim a top three finish.

Eastwood, who had qualified his TF Sport Aston Martin on pole position, was also on course for a World championship podium finish in the GTE category at Silverstone when Salih Yoluc led in the early part of the four-hour race but then was involved in a collision which cost them four places. Eastwood got the Aston Martin back into the top three but in the final stint, despite Jonny Adam setting a new lap record, they fell away to finish seventh.

Andrew Watson, making his World championship debut with the Gulf Porsche team in their new 911 RSR, finished just off the podium in fourth.

Outright victory went to the Toyota Hybrid of Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway ahead of the sister car of Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima.

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