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Daniel Harper has brought his impressive maiden campaign in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup to a close with a strong performance on his first visit to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this past weekend (01-02 October).

Harper and his team-mates Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse in the BMW Junior Team unfortunately faced a tougher weekend than hoped at the Spanish circuit, but fought hard to the end and secured a well-earned 13th place finish in the final three-hour race.

The Northern Irishman got to grips with the 2.9 mile circuit for the first time in testing on Thursday, before official free practice and pre-qualifying the next day. It became clear during those sessions that their BMW M4 GT3 didn’t have the ultimate front-running pace heading into the all-important race day.

The combined efforts of the three drivers in qualifying netted them 23rd on the grid, with Verhagen starting behind the wheel of the ROWE Racing machine. A brilliant opening few laps saw him battle through to 16th place, before gaining an extra spot later in his stint.

Hesse took over control of the BMW for the middle portion of the race and remained in 15th before handing over to Harper. The 21 year old talent pushed hard through the final hour and gained a couple more positions to complete a strong team drive to 13th.

Daniel Harper: “Sadly it wasn’t the weekend we’d hoped for to end the season. It was clear early on that we didn’t have the pace to be challenging at the front of the field, but the whole team worked hard to make improvements to the car and progress up the order.

“I’m pleased we could reward their efforts with a good drive in the race. All three of us maximised the performance we had and to gain ten positions from 23rd to 13th, we ultimately have to come away satisfied with that result.”

The GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup season has been a huge learning experience for Harper, as he competed in a new car in a new championship whilst also learning five iconic circuits for the first time; Imola, Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps, Hockenheim and Barcelona-Catalunya.

Alongside Verhagen and Hesse, there have been some standout moments across the campaign, including a brilliant charging drive from 22nd to fourth in the 1000km of Paul Ricard, and a superb podium challenge en-route to fifth place in their first attempt at the 24 Hours of Spa.

Harper: “Ultimately I’m happy with how this season has gone. It’s been a huge learning year for me, getting to grips with the new car and learning all the circuits for the first time. I’ve enjoyed every second of it and feel I’ve performed well across the season.

“Thank you to Max [Hesse], Neil [Verhagen] and everyone at ROWE Racing for their great work this season. We managed to complete every racing lap this season, which is a testament to the reliability of the car and the great work of the team.

“Hopefully we can come back next year, taking everything we’ve learnt this season, and step up a level in this fantastic championship. Thank you to BMW Motorsport for this continued opportunity.”

Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. BMW


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