Tom Sharp showed his fighting spirit to bounce back from a difficult qualifying session and bring his 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup GB campaign to a close with a pair of top seven finishes during the season finale at Brands Hatch last weekend (1/2 October).
Twelve months on from securing his maiden Porsche victory around the world-famous Kent circuit, Sharp felt instantly at home around the Grand Prix layout once again as he produced strong top five pace across official Friday testing.
A change of weather conditions for Saturday qualifying would present him a new test in his IDL Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer, with Sharp immediately rising to the challenge as he sat in the top three of the timesheets across the first half of the session.
It wouldn’t end that way for the Surrey-based racer however, with a slight mistake in the tricky conditions leading to an unfortunate collision with the tyre barriers at Paddock Hill Bend that ended his session early and prevented him from improving his time as the track improved.
Sharp would therefore start tenth on the grid for Sunday’s opening race, but with the sun shining over the circuit once again, the 25 year old was confident of replicating his promising practice pace and moving forwards through the field.
Sharp would gain two positions over the course of the opening lap prior to a safety car interlude, before benefitting from a spin for a rival shortly after the restart to slot into seventh position.
Not content with that though, Sharp kept pushing on in his IDL, Mardix and Dome Group-backed machine and pulled off a slick overtaking move on Jonas Gelzinis for sixth position, which he would comfortably hold on to for the remainder of the race.
Starting an improved eighth for the final race of the season. Sharp narrowly missed out on replicating his top six finish, working his way to seventh at the chequered flag to cement his sixth position in the final championship standings.
The weekend’s results capped off an impressive second Carrera Cup GB campaign for Sharp and his small family-run IDL Racing team, who once again took on some of the biggest GT racing outfits in the country and came away with five podium finishes to their name.
Tom Sharp: “To say I was disappointed to have crashed out of qualifying having only set two timed laps was an understatement. To know you had the pace to fight for the front row and not deliver is difficult, but this is how it is sometimes.
“The races are very much set by your qualifying position, so the opener went about as well as it could have gone. We made some progress through the field, but a top three was never really going to be achievable considering our starting position.
“The second race was a similar story. It was a close fight once again but overtaking is tricky on a tight circuit like Brands Hatch, and we made the best progress we could in the circumstances. It’s a frustrating end to the season, but we are now working hard towards plans for next year.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. James Lipman/Porsche