Tom Sharp has brought the first half of the 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season to a close in positive fashion as he secured a superb top ten qualifying result at Hockenheim this past weekend (20-22 July).
Sharp headed to south-west Germany hoping to build upon a strong showing on home tarmac at Silverstone two weeks prior, however he knew that he faced a tricky meeting as he tackled the 2.84 mile Hockenheim circuit for the first time in his career.
Friday’s forty-five minute practice session was therefore pivotal as he got to grips with the circuit and worked with his family IDL Racing team, the only British outfit on the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup grid, to perfect the set-up on their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Their hard work would pay off come qualifying the following day. Running on wet tyres for the majority of the session following earlier rainfall, Sharp would benefit from a late switch to slick rubber as the track dried in the closing minutes of the session.
A great lap of 1m 45.542s would secure the Surrey racer tenth on the grid, the best qualifying result for himself and the IDL Racing team since they joined the Supercup grid full-time at the start of 2017 – a great present for Sharp as he celebrated his 27th birthday.
There would be another landmark come the race on Sunday morning, as Sharp lined up for his fiftieth start in one-make Porsche competition. Unfortunately it wouldn’t start well in front of a large, passionate German crowd, with a slow launch off the line costing him ground.
Settling into sixteenth place at the end of the opening lap, Sharp would keep in touch with the pack ahead as he maintained position for the majority of the race, until an unfortunate mistake on the final lap dropped him to twenty-second at the chequered flag.
There’s no rest for the driver and the IDL Racing team, with the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup continuing next weekend (27-29 July) at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary.
Tom Sharp: “We always expected this meeting to be a real challenge having never seen the circuit before, so to come away with our best qualifying performance of the season was certainly a strange but welcome surprise.
“The IDL Racing team have once again done a fantastic job all weekend and it’s frustrating that a couple of mistakes from me meant that I could not give them the result they deserved in the race, but we’ll come back stronger from this.
“It’s not been an easy spell in recent meetings for us, but we feel like we’re making progress back towards where we want to be in this field. The Hungaroring presents an exciting challenge and we’re looking forward to the weekend.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche