Tom Sharp enjoyed a promising start to his 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign this past weekend (12/13 May) as he picked up an eleventh place finish in the opening round of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Returning to the scene of a great points-scoring finish twelve months ago, Sharp would repeat the feat behind the wheel of his IDL Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car as he started his second full season in the Supercup in hugely positive fashion.
The Surrey based racer headed into the meeting in a buoyant mood after two productive days of official pre-season testing at the Spanish circuit at the end of April, and he hit the ground running with a strong showing in free practice on Friday.
Ending that session fifteenth fastest overall, Sharp would go on to perfectly replicate that performance in qualifying the next day, with a best effort of 1m 48.289s seeing him finish only a second adrift of the fastest time as he secured an eighth row start for Sunday’s single race.
Competing on the eve of the 2018 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix in front of a large, passionate crowd, Sharp would enjoy a great start to the fourteen lap encounter as he rose two places in the opening two laps to slot into thirteenth position.
That put Sharp in the middle of an enthralling multi-car battle in his machine, with the 26 year old emerging from some great wheel-to-wheel racing in eleventh at mid-distance.
Following a short safety car period, Sharp would go on to challenge for the final position in the top ten over the last few laps, but had to eventually settle for eleventh place at the chequered flag – a result that improves upon his best of thirteenth during the 2017 campaign.
Tom Sharp: “It’s been a really positive start to the season, seeing all our hard work over the winter come to fruition. We’ve been closer to the front of the field than ever before and to be battling for the top ten in the opening race is a great sign for the season ahead.
“We could tell straight away in free practice that we had made a big step forward from last year and it was a shame that I couldn’t quite get the lap time together in qualifying, as there was definitely the pace in the car for better than fifteenth.
“It was a really fun race. I got to enjoy some great battles with some very talented drivers and while it’s a shame we couldn’t crack the top ten, I’m very happy with eleventh. This weekend has been a great platform for us to build upon heading into Monaco and beyond.”
The 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup heads to Monte Carlo in two weeks’ time (24-27 May) for Round Two.
Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche AG/Hoch Zwei