Belfast Telegraph

Harper survives scare to deliver Father's Day gift

 

Pointing the way: Porsche Cup driver Daniel Harvey
Pointing the way: Porsche Cup driver Daniel Harvey

By Sammy Hamill

Daniel Harper forgot to get his dad a Father's Day present but promised he'd bring home champagne instead.

And the 18-year-old from Hillsborough duly delivered the belated gift - but he almost gave dad Stan a heart attack too.

On course for a comprehensive victory in the first Porsche Carrera Cup race at Croft yesterday, young Harper floored the accelerator of his car as he exited the final hairpin at the north Yorkshire track and the Porsche whipped round in a lurid spin, just skimming the barriers.

Fortunately, he had just enough in hand to make it to the chequered flag ahead of former champion Josh Webster but said it had given him a huge scare. Not half as big a fright as it gave his dad and the JTR team watching from the pit wall.

A chastened Harper admitted he had been "showing off a wee bit" but added: "Never been so scared in my life!

"I hope dad's OK - and I got the podium champagne for him as promised."

The rain arrived for race two and Harper started on slick tyres as most of the field dived into the pits for wets. It was a big mistake and when he eventually changed tyres he could do no better than sixth as another Irish driver Karl Leonard took his first win.

But Harper wasn't alone on standing on the Croft podium with Chris Smiley, Colin Turkington and Jack Young all getting a chance to spray the champagne.

Smylie scored his best result of the season so far with second place in the first of the three British Touring Car races. Having set second fastest time in a chaotic, rain-hit qualifying session in his BTC Racing Honda, the Ballycarry driver fought off the challenge of Tom Chilton and Turkington but couldn't stay with the winning BMW of Andrew Jordan.

Carrying extra ballast in race two, Smiley held off a fast starting Turkington for five laps before the reigning champion got ahead and chased West Surrey Racing team-mate Jordan all the way to the line.

It ended badly for Smiley when he was shunted into the barriers by the Subaru of Ash Sutton just yards from the finish.

Turkington started and finished sixth in a wet race three, won by Chilton, but it was enough to see him take an 11 point lead after 12 rounds.

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