Sharp was back in Carrera Cup GB action following a busy six week summer break since the last rounds at Croft, during which the Surrey-based racer made star outings at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Silverstone Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup event, as well as celebrating his 25th birthday.
Returning to the scene of his maiden Carrera Cup GB podium finish twelve months ago, Sharp got his weekend off to a positive start with the third fastest time in Friday practice in his IDL, Dome Group, Mardix Group and Imtech-backed Porsche 911.
Sharp would convert that pace into a pair of top five grid positions in qualifying, with a quickest effort of 1m 51.436s putting him a best of third on the grid for the opening encounter, a position he was confident of converting into a podium result.
That’s exactly what the IDL Racing man would go on to do, with a strong performance seeing him pull away from his pursuers to take a clear third place and match his previous best finishes of the season from Brands Hatch and Croft.
Sharp and the team worked hard between races to try and improve the balance of the car and give him the best chance of challenging for another top three in race two, however unfortunately for Sharp he would be unable to fully benefit from the set-up changes made.
That was because for the second consecutive Carrera Cup GB meeting, Sharp found himself the victim of dangerous contact on the pit straight at the start of the race, with only his expert quick reactions keeping his IDL Racing machine out of the pitwall.
With remarkably only one position lost, a fired up Sharp stormed into the rear view mirrors of Jonas Gelzinis ahead and after almost grabbing the position with a slick move into Oggies on lap five, the spot was his two corners later as he pressured his rival into a mistake under braking for Brundle.
By then the damage was already done for Sharp’s podium prospects however, with a near six second gap to the drivers in front and some increasing understeer problems caused by the contact at the start of the race forcing him to settle for fifth place to the finish.
The strong points haul for the weekend has moved Sharp back into the top five of the Carrera Cup GB standings with six races remaining of the season, starting off with the annual trip to Scotland and the picturesque Knockhill circuit next weekend (13/14 August).
Tom Sharp: “It was fantastic to pick up another podium finish this weekend to reward all the efforts of the team and the sponsors. It was a difficult day on Friday, the car wasn’t quite where we wanted it, so I was delighted to pull out a lap in qualifying and start in the top three.
“We struggled for pace a little bit in the opening race, but we kept ourselves in third and was able to pull away from those behind. I felt like another podium finish was on the cards in race two with the changes we’d made, but unfortunately one of my fellow drivers decided to wreck our race again.
“It’s a shame the weekend ended that way as we felt we deserved more from that race, but we’re happy with the steps forward we’ve made with the car this weekend and we will be hoping to challenge for the podium once again next time out at Knockhill.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. James Lipman/Porsche