Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Ulster's rising stars Devine and Harper take to the main stage


By Sammy Hamill

It promises to be a big and challenging weekend ahead for two of Ulster's fastest rising young motorsport stars, Daniel Harper and Callum Devine.

Both winners of lucrative scholarships, their challenges are very different - Harper taking on the fast sweeps of the Brands Hatch circuit and Devine the constant twists and turns of the Corsican mountain roads.

Harper was still just 16, too young to drive legally on the road, when he was chosen by Porsche as the recipient of a two-year scholarship worth close to £200,000 at the end of 2016. Now, having turned 17 just before Christmas and able to drive to Dromore High School, he is preparing to make his debut in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB series at the Kent circuit on Saturday.

A graduate and race winner from the UK Ginetta junior championship, Harper has already impressed in testing with his JTR team, setting regular top-five times, although admitting there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"Some of my sector times were very good but putting them all together over a whole lap was a bit of problem," he said. "Still, it is very early days and I'm loving the whole experience."

The Carrera Cup series, which was won last season by Harper's fellow Ulster driver Charlie Eastwood, is part of the support programme for the British Touring Car Championship which kicks off at Brands Hatch, featuring Colin Turkington and Chris Smiley.

Meanwhile, Devine continues his challenge for the Junior World Rally Championship on the Tour de Corse.

The 23-year-old British Junior champion from Co Derry was the winner of Motorsport Ireland's Billy Coleman Award bursary.

He made his JWRC debut in Sweden in February and, despite having no experience of snow rallies, finished a creditable fifth in the all Ford Fiesta R2 category.

Now it is the more familiar feel of Tarmac although the Corsican roads with their thousands of corners will be all new to him. But he is optimistic.

"It's the first and only Tarmac round in the championship so we are hoping to have a good run here on our preferred surface," he stated.

"I'm really up for the challenge."

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