Tom Sharp fought back from a nightmare opening race at Silverstone to secure a richly deserved top five finish during the penultimate meeting of the 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB season at Silverstone this past weekend (17/18 September).
Sharp and his family IDL Racing team headed into the weekend as one of the in-form packages on the grid having secured podium finishes in each of the previous three meetings, and their confidence was boosted by finishing a strong third fastest in the second official free practice session.
Unfortunately for Sharp it just didn’t go his way in an incredibly close qualifying though. While his best effort of 56.294s was less than two tenths of a second shy of a top two berth, his IDL, Dome Group and Mardix Group-backed 911 was consigned to the fourth row of the grid for both races.
Sharp was eager to move forwards in the opening race, however he unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to when a clutch problem at the beginning of the green flag lap led to him making the decision to start safely from the pitlane, rather than risk stalling on the busy grid.
Taking to the track over thirty seconds adrift at the back of the field, Sharp was able to showcase his stunning raw pace as he lapped as the second fastest car on circuit, incredibly working his way up six places into sixteenth position at the finish.
That result didn’t secure the 25 year old any championship points though, putting extra importance on the second race of the day as he aimed to keep himself in the hunt for a top five championship finish heading into the season finale next month.
Sharp would go on to kick off that race in positive fashion as he gained two positions on the opening lap alone to slot into sixth place, though he would go on to lose one of those back a few laps later when challenging for the top five.
The Surrey-based racer kept the pressure on the drivers ahead as the race progressed though and it paid off in the closing laps, with a great move heading through Woodcote earning him sixth, before he benefitted from a time penalty for a rival to secure fifth place at the chequered flag.
Sharp’s focus now turns to reclaiming a position in the championship top five during the final two rounds of the season on October 1/2 around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, the scene of his maiden Porsche Carrera Cup GB victory twelve months ago.
Tom Sharp: “Qualifying didn’t quite go to plan to start the weekend off, but with it being as close as it is in this championship, that’s just the way it goes sometimes. The first race was then obviously pretty disappointing, especially as we’re not sure what the exact cause of the problem was, but the pace we showed was promising in the end.
“The second race was enjoyable, to be out there racing wheel to wheel, but fighting for fifth, sixth and seventh is ultimately not where we want to be. We’re going to put this weekend behind us, and we go to Brands Hatch determined to end the season on a high and challenge for both race victories.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. James Lipman/Porsche