Tom Sharp bounced back from a difficult qualifying session to showcase his superb racecraft as he battled to a seasons best thirteenth place finish during the latest round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the Red Bull Ring this past weekend (8/9 July).
Kicking off back-to-back race meetings that will see him compete on home tarmac at Silverstone this coming weekend, Sharp and his family IDL Racing team headed to Austria in buoyant mood after battling for the top ten last time out around the streets of Monaco.
Under the picturesque backdrop of the Styrian mountains, Sharp would lap the fast, undulating Red Bull Ring circuit for the first time during a 45 minute practice session on Friday, with some crucial mileage culminating in him finishing just shy of the top twenty.
Saturday’s qualifying session would not go smoothly for the Camberley racer however, with a couple of his fastest laps being removed for track limits infringements and issues with traffic on his best potential lap leaving him an unrepresentative 23rd on the grid.
Sharp would bounce back from that frustration in impressive fashion during the race on Sunday morning though, with some fantastic progress on the opening lap seeing him cleanly pick his way through the order to settle in seventeenth place.
Another position gained on the next lap would put the 25 year old onto the tail of fellow Brit Paul Rees, with both drivers negotiating a spinning car in-front on lap five before Sharp stormed past his Monaco sparring partner to rise to fourteenth.
The IDL, Dome Group, Mardix Group, Lloret, GBE and Fireclad Limited backed racer would then dispatch experienced Supercup racer Ryan Cullen, before producing lap times on a par with the top ten as he settled into position until a late safety car period.
The race would restart with just a one lap shootout to the chequered flag, but that was enough time for Sharp to pull off a brilliant overtaking move heading into turn two, meaning he would eventually finish thirteenth overall.
That would mark his best race result and his second visit to the points paying positions so far this season, giving him a boost as he prepares to race in front of over 100,000 fans this weekend at the ‘Home of British Motor Racing’ Silverstone.
Tom Sharp: “It wasn’t the weekend it could have been, but I’m pleased with how we went in the race. I’m one of the only drivers on the grid who hadn’t been to the circuit before and the one practice session just wasn’t enough to get to grips with it.
“I didn’t make the most of qualifying and that put me on the back foot heading into what turned out to be a hectic race. I knew I had to make progress, so I just got stuck in and it was nice to be able to put on a show and prove the pace of the car, which was brilliant all weekend.
“It was enjoyable to be in the thick of the action and make some good overtaking moves, but really we should have qualified better and finished in the top eight. We live and learn, and we’re certainly aiming for that level of performance and more at Silverstone. I can’t wait for our home event!”
Competing in support of the Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix for a third consecutive season, Sharp will take to the track for free practice on Friday at 4.55pm, with Saturday’s qualifying session at 8.45am and then the sole race on Sunday morning at 10.30am.
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche AG/Hoch Zwei