Daniel Harper continued his exceptional recent run of results in the Nürburgring Endurance Series on Saturday (25th September), with a fourth podium finish of the season putting the BMW Junior Team firmly in title contention heading into the season finale next month.
Having returned from a two month summer break with a brilliant second place finish in round seven a fortnight ago, Harper and team-mates Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse produced one of their best displays of the year to beat the odds and add more silverware to their collection.
Following the traditional pre-event test on Friday, there was a delayed start to the action the next day as morning fog sat over the Nürburgring. Qualifying eventually took place over a shortened 45 minute period, with Harper leading the charge in their BMW M6 GT3.
The Northern Irishman posted a great lap to secure third on the grid for the four-hour race later that day, with Verhagen starting behind the wheel. A competitive performance saw him remain in the podium battle throughout the opening stint, before handing the car over to Harper.
Settling into the top six, a fantastic run saw him catch and pass the team’s main title rival. Eventually moving up to third, there was a frustrating end to his stint as on his penultimate lap, a slower car turned in on him and caused tyre and bodywork damage.
Despite that costing him time before pitting, Hesse briefly found himself in the race lead soon after. Going on to run third after his final stop, he survived contact of his own before piling pressure on the car ahead in the closing stages. Eventually taking the chequered flag in third, that marked a fourth podium finish in the last five NES races for the BMW Junior Team.
Daniel Harper: “We’re pretty happy with that. There was potential for a better result on the day, but considering the circumstances through the race, to be on the podium again is a great result and it continues our strong run of finishes in the championship.
“It was a shame to have contact in both mine and Max’s stints, with the damage costing us quite a bit of time in the end. That’s a big part of the challenge of the championship though, with a lot of cars on track of different speeds to negotiate through the race.
“Personally, I was pleased with my performance in both qualifying and the race. I’m continuing to learn every lap around here and my pace is consistently strong now. A big thank you to Team RMG and BMW Motorsport for a faultless car as always!
“This podium feels even more special as for the first time since I started racing in Germany, my Mum and a close family friend were able to travel across from Northern Ireland and enjoy the race. Thank you to them for their support.”
The final round of the 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series is coming up in two weeks’ time, with a four hour race on Saturday 9th October.
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. BMW