The sixth round of the 2017 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup would unfortunately prove to be a short-lived affair for Tom Sharp as a first corner incident ended his challenge on lap one at the Hungaroring this past weekend (29/30 July).
Following a luckless home meeting at Silverstone earlier this month, Sharp’s run of misfortune would unfortunately continue on his first ever visit to the Budapest-based circuit, with steering damage forcing him into a third retirement of the season so far.
Sharp would be facing an uphill struggle throughout the meeting with his family IDL Racing team, as while a number of their rivals got to enjoy tests at the track in the run-up to the event, they would only tackle the circuit for the first time in Friday practice.
That gave the 26 year old just forty-five minutes to get acquainted with the technical 2.722 mile circuit ahead of the all-important qualifying session on Saturday, which didn’t prove to be enough time and he could only place himself 24th on the grid for Sunday’s fourteen lap race.
Sharp took the start in front of a huge trackside crowd and the live Sky Sports F1 television cameras hoping to produce a similar performance to his one at the Red Bull Ring earlier this season, when he superbly climbed through the field from 23rd on the grid to 13th at the finish.
Unfortunately for the IDL, Dome Group, Mardix Group, Lloret, GBE Services, Aapex Wealth Management and Fireclad Limited supported driver there would be no opportunity to repeat those heroics, with a move on Egidio Perfetti resulting in a touch of wheels between the two and a race-ending broken front steering rack.
The Surrey racer is determined to bounce back from that disappointment later this month in Belgium when he returns to the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the first time in two years to contest Rounds Seven and Eight of the 2017 campaign (25-27 August).
Tom Sharp: “I knew it would be a big challenge learning the new circuit with only the limited track time we get over the course of a race meeting, but unfortunately we just didn’t have the time in our schedule to travel over and test before the weekend.
“Without that experience under our belts, qualifying was always going to be difficult and sure enough, we had to start much lower down the grid than I would have liked, which put us on the backfoot for the race on Sunday.
“It’s immensely frustrating to only manage two corners of the race, particularly at a time when gaining experience in the car and in the championship is the main priority. We’re going to put this behind us though and try to enjoy a strong outing at Spa later this month.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche AG/Hoch Zwei