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JUNIOR HARPER MAKES A FLYING START TO 2019 PORSCHE CARRERA CUP GB SEASON

The Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, got off to a flying start at Brands Hatch with two exciting races. It was 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) who emerged from the opening weekend leading the Pro championship standings, Harper claimed Pole position, victory in Round One and a podium finish in Round Two.

A mix of returning drivers and newcomers in the Pro-Am category saw Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) take two category victories to lead the Pro-Am points standings. In the Am category Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) earned an early championship advantage clinching a victory in race one and a podium finish in race two. Following the Brands Hatch weekend, the Rookie category is led by promising newcomer Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing), Amigos Redline Racing gain an early lead in the Teams championship.

Race one
Wet weather during Saturday’s qualifying session played a part in creating a mixed up grid for race one, with several drivers left out of position as a result. On Sunday morning fog delayed the scheduled start of Round One by approximately two hours – 16 cars formed the grid for a 34 lap race in wet conditions for a standing start.

From Pole position 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) made a good start in slippery conditions, from alongside Jamie Orton (JTR) got away slowly and fell back into the pack. Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) assumed second position behind Harper, followed by Seb Perez (Amigos Redline Racing) – Perez quickly finding a way by Vaughan for P2. Making a fast start was returnee Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) who led the Pro-Am category from Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) and a recovering Orton. Of the Am category runners Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) led Richard Hawken (Slidesports Engineering) from Rookie John Ferguson (IN2 Racing), Ferguson quickly moving ahead of Hawken for P2 in category.

On lap 9 George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) passed Vaughan for P3 overall, he was soon followed through by Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance). Newcomer McCarthy battled with Leonard, moving into the Pro-Am category lead with Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) occupying third. On lap 19 Gamble took a brief trip through the gravel trap at Paddock Hill which allowed Plato by for P3 overall. Following an earlier spin by Hawken, Ferguson came under increasing pressure from Am category rival Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) in P3, Sherwood passing the newcomer on the run down to Graham Hill leaving the category order; Mangion, Sherwood, Ferguson.

With just a few laps of the race remaining, Perez dipped two wheels into the gravel in the run out of Paddock Hill momentarily loosing momentum, Plato instantly capitalised, finding a way by at Druids to move into P2 overall. That made the Pro category podium; Harper, Plato and Perez. Following a move on McCarthy in the final stages of the race, Pro-Am winner Leonard was joined on the category podium by Hawkey in P2, Rookie McCarthy occupying the final podium place. Mangion took Am category victory with Sherwood second, Ferguson third.

As part of the 2019 podium procedure, winner Harper selected at random the number 4 ball, which reverses the grid positions of the top four overall race finishers from round one. This formed the starting grid for round two; Gamble, Perez, Plato, and Harper.

Race two
George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) started on Pole for Round Two alongside teammate Seb Perez (Amigos Redline Racing). Gamble made a good start in dry conditions for the 34 lap race, Perez dropped behind Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance) who got underway well from the second row of the grid. Pro-Am runner Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) passed Race One winner 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) for P4 overall.

Pro-Am category leader Leonard ran ahead of Jamie Orton (JTR) – P2 in category – and Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing). Of the Am drivers Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) led newcomer John Ferguson (IN2 Racing) and Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) in a closely contested battle that would last almost the entire race distance. Having dispatched Leonard, on lap 11 Harper mounted a successful challenge on Perez for P3 overall, passing his Pro category rival on the Cooper Straight.

Setting after race leader Gamble and second placed runner Plato, Harper pushed hard but as the leading trio began lapping traffic Gamble was able to extend his lead. In the tight Am category battle, 2018 category champion Mangion put Ferguson under increasing pressure, the newcomer ultimately spinning allowing Mangion through to P2 in category. Following an earlier issue, a recovering Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) took the final category podium place.

On the final lap of the race Harper mounted a run on Plato for P2, the pair running very closely together, however, Plato managed to maintain his position to finish behind overall winner Gamble. Harper recorded his second podium result of the weekend. Of the Pro-Am runners Leonard made it two category wins from two races, Orton finished P2 with Rookie McCarthy third. In the Am category Sherwood led home Mangion and Kyle-Henney. For his performance, Porsche Junior Harper earned the Driver of the Weekend accolade, while JTR were awarded Team of the Weekend.

Source. Porsche

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