Dan Harper (JTR) secured the maiden pole position of his Porsche Carrera Cup GB career in qualifying for round five of the championship at historic Monza in Italy. The 17-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior topped a closely contested session despite his only previous experience of the high-speed circuit being through computer simulators, and yesterday’s practice runs. Harper lines up alongside his team mate Lewis Plato (JTR), with championship leader Dino Zamparelli (Redline Racing) in third – all three were covered by just 0.316s.
The session took place in warm and sunny conditions, quickly developing into a close fight in all three categories. In the Pro category the top seven drivers were regularly covered by just half a tenth of a second, Harper, Plato and Zamparelli battled with race winners Tio Ellinas (Slidesports Engineering) and George Gamble (Amigos Team Parker) in the early stages. In the Pro-Am category Seb Perez (Amigos Team Parker), Jamie Orton (JTR) and Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) traded times as the drivers completed their first set of runs. In Am Peter Mangion (Team Parker Racing) set the early pace from championship rival Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) and Iain Dockerill (Asset Advantage Racing).
During the second half of the session Zamparelli was the first driver to lap the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in under 1 minute 51 seconds with a time of 1:50.998, Plato came within 0.005s of Zamparelli’s time to sit in a provisional P2. Pro-Am competitor Perez maintained his position at the front of the category, chased by Orton just a few tenths of a second behind. Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) and Greg Caton (G-Cat Racing) fought over third place in Pro-Am – often just a couple of tenths of a second separated the pair. In Am Kyle-Henney leaped close rival Mangion to head the category.
In the dying minutes of the session rookie Harper set the fastest lap of the weekend so far, 1:50.609, Plato pushed to lap within 0.194s of the Irishman while Zamparelli improved marginally to trail by 0.316s in third. In Pro-Am Orton moved into P1 in the category ahead of Perez and Caton and will start round five at the front of a closely matched Pro-Am grid. Kyle-Henney was quickest of the Am category drivers and will start the race ahead of Mangion and Dockerill.
Under the revised 2018 Carrera Cup GB race format, Harper’s pole position for today’s race has already earned him two championship points, as the top qualifiers in their respective categories – Orton and Kyle-Henney – also receive two points each. The grid for tomorrow’s second race will be decided immediately following race one. The overall winner will draw a number between four and six at random, deciding whether the first four, five or six competitors will have their grid positions reversed. The remaining drivers will form the grid for race two according to their finishing positions in race one.
Round five will take place later today at 15:00 (CET), round six will take place on Sunday 13 May at 10:20 (CET), with coverage of both races streamed live via porsche.co.uk/monza. Both races now feature a standing start, Harper will be hoping to maintain his qualifying form in order to claim a maiden Carrera Cup GB win. Follow the battles at @CarreraCupGB on Twitter.