Belfast Telegraph

Schoolboy Harper gives rivals a serious lesson

 

By Sammy Hamill

Daniel Harper took on the starring role at Rockingham on a day when Colin Turkington lost his lead in the British Touring Car Championship and Wayne Boyd's run of ill fortune continued in Hungary.

Harper won two of the three UK Ginetta Junior rounds to move within 16 points of the championship lead with six races still to go.

The 16-year-old Dromore High School student had an almost perfect weekend, qualifying his Douglas Motorsport Ginetta on pole position for the first two races on Saturday and coming away with a win and a second place.

Yesterday, from second place on the grid, he fought a race-long duel with pole man Tom Gamble, nosing in front in the closing laps and resisting all efforts by the series leader to re-take the lead.

Harper's fellow Ulsterman Chris Smylie had the best weekend of his fledgling BTCC career, climbing from 20th on the grid in his Norlin Chevrolet to record his first top finish finish in the second of the three touring car races at Rockingham. The Carrickfergus driver then topped it with ninth place in race three.

But for Turkington, his BMW weighed down by 75 kilos of success ballast as championship leader, it was all about damage limitation. He slipped to second place in the standings as Subaru's Ash Sutton took over the top spot but, in typically determined fashion, Turkington took a a third and two sixth places to stay just 16 points behind.

Sutton finished second behind team-mate James Cole in the first of the three races and then took a dominant win in race two - his sixth of the season - with Turkington surprising himself with third behind the Ford of Mat Jackson.

BMW team-mate Andrew Jordan won race three with Sutton and Turkington finishing nose to tail in fifth and sixth as title rivals Gordon Sheddon (Honda) and Rob Collard (BMW) fell away.

Meanwhile, Boyd retired after just seven laps of the European Le Mans race at the Hungaroring when his United Autosports Ligier-Nissan lost oil pressure.

Locally, Peadar Hurson turned back the clock to win the Galway Summer Rally 25 years after he was Irish national champion. It was his second Galway win, but a first victory in the WRC Ford Fiesta he has switched to this season.

Hurson finished well clear of the similar car of 2016 champion Roy White with Niall Maguire taking third in his Subaru.

Josh Moffett, whose brother Sam has already won this year's national series, finished 18th on the Barum Rally in the Czech Republic, his hopes of a top 10 place wrecked on the last of the Saturday stages when he hit a rock which broke the rear wheel of his R5 Fiesta.

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