Tom Sharp produced a battling display on home tarmac at Silverstone to rise five places to thirteenth overall during the fourth meeting of the 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season this past weekend (07/08 July).
The annual visit to Silverstone is the biggest race meeting of the season for the Surrey-based racer, with 2018 marking his fourth consecutive season competing on the support bill of the Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix in front of over 100,000 fans.
Following a frustrating visit to the Red Bull Ring in Austria the weekend prior, Sharp aimed to bounce back in style at his home event, however he knew it would be a tough start to the meeting as he continued to get miles under his belt with his new engine.
After a tricky practice session on Friday, Sharp would show some strong forward progression during qualifying the following evening, with the eighteenth fastest time of the session ensuring he continues his run of qualifying in the top twenty in every round so far this season.
On the hottest day of the year so far, the 26 year old took to the grid knowing the high track temperatures would play a large factor in how the race panned out, with tyre management proving key around the 3.19 mile Grand Prix circuit.
Sharp would emerge unscathed from a typically frenetic opening lap having gained two places, before maintaining sixteenth position over the course of the first half of the race as he began to heap pressure on the driver ahead.
Forcing him into a mistake at Brooklands on lap seven netted Sharp fifteenth place, and from there he produced a run of great lap-times to close on the pack ahead, before an incident towards the front of the field moved him up to thirteenth.
With his tyres at their peak, Sharp was confident of making up further ground but a late safety car period halted his charge, with a three lap shootout to the flag providing limited opportunities for overtaking, meaning Sharp took the chequered flag in thirteenth.
The Dome Group, Anord Mardix, Lloret, GBE Services and Aapex Wealth Management backed driver ended the weekend with plenty of positives to take into the next stage of the season, with his first ever visit to Hockenheim in Germany coming up in two weeks’ time (20-22 July).
Tom Sharp: “We didn’t start the meeting where we wanted to be in practice, but we made some progress for qualifying and then made a big step in the right direction for the race, so it’s good to end the weekend on a positive note.
“The British Grand Prix weekend is always a fantastic event, getting to put on a show in front of the packed grandstands, and for myself and the IDL Racing team to be racing as part of the meeting for a fourth season in a row was a great honour.
“Unfortunately we knew heading into the weekend that we would be on the back foot as we continued to bed in our new engine, but we were able to find some time ahead of qualifying and I think eighteenth was a fair result for us.
“The high air and track temperatures certainly made the race tricky, but I was able to adapt pretty quickly and seize the opportunities that presented themselves. While the safety car cost us when the car was at its fastest, I’m pleased to have come away with thirteenth from where we started.
“We’ve never been to Hockenheim before so it will be a real challenge for us to learn the circuit with the limited track time available, but we’re looking forward to it and hopefully we can continue to work out way back up the grid.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche