Tom Sharp was cruelly denied the opportunity to turn promising pace into a challenge for a top ten result in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Spa-Francorchamps this past weekend (25/26 August) as heavy contact from another driver ended his race on the opening lap.
The trip to Belgium would be one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year for Sharp and his family IDL Racing outfit, having shown a natural affiliation with the iconic circuit during previous visits in the Supercup, Porsche Carrera Cup GB and British GT Championship.
Spa was the scene of the Surrey racer’s strongest all-round meeting during his maiden Supercup campaign in 2017, which meant he headed into the meeting confident that he could be a competitive force despite missing a pre-event test attended by many of his competitors.
The 27 year old kicked off the meeting in positive fashion in Friday practice as he ended up eighteenth fastest overall, and he built on that with a big step forward in pace in qualifying the next day as he finished the session fifteenth on the timesheets.
After qualifying in the top fifteen for the fourth time this season, the Dome Group, Anord Mardix, Lloret, GBE Services and Aapex Wealth Management backed driver headed into the race determined to fight his way through into the battle for the top ten.
The Camberley based racer didn’t get the opportunity however as following a good run through the first corner, he found himself forced wide going through Radillon and then as he headed down the Kemmel Straight, he received heavy contact to the rear of his car.
Spun around into the middle of the track, Sharp was unfortunately collected by another driver, resulting in extensive damage to his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that ended his race on the spot for a second retirement of the season so far.
With the incident causing damage to the car’s chassis, the IDL Racing team had to head straight to Porsche in Germany to get the car repaired ahead of the next round at Monza in Italy this weekend (August 31/September 2).
Tom Sharp: “It was a hugely frustrating end to what had otherwise been our strongest race meeting in a while. I love Spa-Francorchamps and have always felt fast here, so we felt this would be our best opportunity to get back on track after recent troubles.
“We were closer to the pace than we expected on Friday and we progressed from that in qualifying as well. To qualify in the top fifteen was a solid foundation for the race and I headed in confident that we could enjoy a competitive run and hopefully move towards the top ten
“I got a good start, but unfortunately I got pushed wide through Eau Rouge so lost momentum down the straight. At that point, someone decided to completely drive into me, spin me around at a high-speed part of the circuit and cause heavy damage to my car.
“That led to an urgent trip to Germany to get the car fixed and a lot of unnecessary expense, but fortunately the car is back in one piece and we can go racing at Monza, where we hope to build on our promising Spa pace and enjoy a strong weekend.”
Source. Simon Paice Media/Photo. Porsche