Tom Sharp put his recent spell of misfortune in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup behind him and enjoyed a return to form in the championship this past weekend (26/27 August) as he recorded a pair of top sixteen finishes at Spa-Francorchamps.
After seeing contact end his challenge in each of the championship’s last two outings at Silverstone and the Hungaroring, Sharp and his family IDL Racing team headed to Belgium determined to enjoy an upturn in fortunes and return to the points paying positions.
The legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit would provide an ideal opportunity to do so, with the 26 year old having produced impressive pace there during previous race outings in the British GT Championship in 2014 and the Porsche Carrera Cup GB a year later.
Friday’s sole free practice session would provide the IDL, Dome Group, Mardix Group, Lloret, GBE, Aapex Wealth Management and Fireclad Limited backed driver with the chance to fine tune his car’s set-up ahead of the weekend’s action, which kicked off with qualifying on Saturday morning.
The weather would provide a challenge for the 26 year old and the rest of the field as a drying track meant the best times would come in the closing stages of the session, with a best effort of 2m 25.920s guiding Sharp to eighteenth and seventeenth on the grid for the two races.
In the opening race that evening, the Camberley racer would play his part in a thrilling battle over the final positions in the top fifteen, emerging from some fantastic wheel-to-wheel racing with a hard fought sixteenth place finish in his distinctive blue, red and green Porsche.
The second race would follow on Sunday morning mere hours before the start of the Belgian F1 Grand Prix, with a massive crowd around the 4.2 mile circuit watching on as the mammoth 31 car field commenced battle once again.
Sharp would unfortunately lose some ground following an early safety car period, however a strong recovery drive saw him keep his nose out of trouble and avoid some big incidents around him to fight through to a brilliant fourteenth place finish at the flag.
That would cap off Sharp’s strongest weekend overall of the season so far, with his third and fourth points finishes of the campaign giving both him and the team a confidence boost as they head to Italy and the iconic Monza circuit for Round Nine this weekend (1-3 September).
Tom Sharp: “I headed into qualifying confident of a good result and felt the weather could play a part in mixing up the grid a bit, though unfortunately it didn’t go to plan for us as we left the pitlane too soon when the track was drying and our tyres were shot when the track was at its quickest.
“I made some good progress in the opening laps of race one, but from around the midway point on I struggled with the car’s balance and found it difficult to hold my position. Race two was a struggle with similar balance and handling problems, so I was relieved to end up getting back into the points.
“It was good to get some points on the board, especially after our recent problems, so that’s definitely a positive heading to Monza. After a good two day test there earlier this month, fingers crossed we will come away with our best result of the season.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/photo. Porsche AG/Hoch Zwei