Daniel Harper produced one of the best drives of his thriving career so far as he stormed through from sixteenth on the grid to take a podium finish during the latest rounds of the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship at Thruxton this past weekend (05/06 May).
Harper produced sensational pace across the weekend in his Douglas Motorsport prepared Ginetta G40, though was left to rue what might have been after seeing a second victory of the season taken away from him prior to his race two heroics.
Second quickest overall during the official pre-event test in Hampshire late last month, Harper would go on to replicate that performance during Saturday morning’s free practice session, with just six hundredths of a second separating him from top spot.
That blistering pace would continue during qualifying, however Harper would unfortunately see two of his three flying lap times removed for alleged track limits infringements, leaving him to salvage second and sixteenth on the grid for Sunday’s two races.
Harper would find himself in the middle of a thrilling battle for the race lead throughout the opening encounter though, with the Northern Irishman showing superb racecraft as he fought it out wheel-to-wheel with his adversaries around the fastest circuit in the UK.
A fearless move around the outside at the high-speed Noble corner on lap six would give Harper the race lead, before an incredibly mature, composed drive saw him soak up immense pressure in the remaining laps to take the chequered flag as the race winner.
Harper’s delight was cut short once again however as the over-zealous stewards hit him with a five second penalty for exceeding track limits for a second consecutive meeting, demoting him to fourth position in the final classified results.
The sixteen year old would hit back in standout fashion during the second race later that day, putting in a star performance in front of the live ITV4 television cameras as he stormed through the field from his lowly sixteenth position on the grid.
A stunning opening lap would see Harper gain no less than six places as he immediately positioned himself in the top ten, before he went on to post the fastest lap of the race as he picked his way through to fifth position before the halfway mark of the race.
The Hillsborough racer would then expertly gain two more positions on lap six to secure third position, and with the gap to the top two being too large to breach, he focused on pulling a comfortable gap to his pursuers on his way to a brilliant podium result.
Harper’s fourth top three finish of the campaign so far has cemented his second position in the championship standings ahead of the fourth meeting of the year at Oulton Park in Cheshire next weekend (20/21 May).
Daniel Harper: “All in all it’s been good haul of points this weekend which is crucial in this championship. I’m happy with that, but obviously having the win taken off me was hugely disappointing, as I don’t feel like I pushed the track limits more than anyone else.
“The second race was definitely one of the best drives I’ve had in my career so far though, to come through the field cleanly from sixteenth to third felt incredibly satisfying. We’ve got plenty of positives to take from this weekend and we’re focusing on pushing for wins again at Oulton Park.”
Images from Jakob Ebrey