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Porsche GB Junior Harper Crowned Youngest Ever Porsche Carrera Cup GB Champion

The penultimate weekend of Porsche Carrera Cup GB, the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, saw 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) declared as provisional 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion. Porsche GB Junior Harper needed to score just a handful of points during the Silverstone National weekend to move the title out of the reach of rivals Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) and Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance) – a seventh place finish in a dramatic race one was enough to crown the teenager as the youngest champion in the history of the championship.

Mixed weather conditions added a layer of drama to the weekend’s races, varying tyre strategies saw some drivers start race one on slick dry weather tyres, others on grooved wet weather tyres. The second race was conducted in equally slippery conditions, George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) took two impressive overall victories to become only the second driver in 2019 to win two races in a single weekend. Gamble’s performance sees him move ahead of Webster and Plato in the Pro category championship standings before the season finale at Brands Hatch in two weeks time.

One of a number of newcomers for the Silverstone weekend, Aaron Mason (Team Connect It) claimed two Pro-Am category victories on his Porsche Carrera Cup GB debut. Pro-Am category championship leader Karl Leonard further extended his points advantage, Rookie Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing) leapfrogged Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) in the category standings to become Leonard’s nearest rival – the Silverstone result means that the Pro-Am championship battle will go down to the wire at the final weekend of the season. Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) took two category victories at Silverstone – enough to see him crowned as provisional 2019 Am category champion. Sherwood’s consistency has seen him maintain an unbroken record of podium appearances this season.

Race one
Following a spell of wet weather before the start of race one, 23 drivers were greeted with a drying track as they made their way to the grid ahead of the day’s first 28 lap race. With some cars shod with slick dry weather tyres, others with wet weather tyres, two formation laps were conducted to allow drivers to gain experience of the slippery conditions. At the end of the first formation lap George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) pitted to switch from slick to grooved wet weather tyres, starting his race from the pit lane.

When the lights went out 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) and Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) – both shod with slick Michelin rubber – got away evenly into Copse. On the run into Maggots and Beckets Dan Vaughan (Motorbase Performance) Adam Hatfield (Valluga Racing) and reigning champion Tio Ellinas (Redline Racing) made contact – all three would take no further part in the race. As the slick shod cars struggled for grip in the greasy conditions, those drivers who had elected to fit grooved wet weather tyres began making up ground. At the start of the second lap championship returnee Ross Wylie (IN2 Racing) – took the overall lead, followed by Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) and Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) – all three running wet tyres.

In the Pro-Am category newcomer Aaron Mason (Team Connect It) ranked ahead of Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) and Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing), the Am category fight saw Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) leading Kyle-Henney and newcomer Lucky Khera (Team Parker Racing). Championship contenders Webster and Porsche GB Junior Harper soon became engaged in a close battle for P8, trading places on more than one occasion throughout the race. On lap 11 Webster found a way by Porsche GB Junior Harper for P8, but on lap 18 the teenager came back at Webster with a successful move through Becketts,

Having advanced to P2, a flying Gamble caught leader Wylie, taking the lead on lap 18 making the order at the front of the race; Gamble, Wylie and Sherwood. In the latter stages of the race the drying circuit played into the hands of the slick shod runners, however when the flag fell the top six cars were all running wet weather tyres, Porsche GB Junior Harper in P7 overall – P3 in category – being the first car on dry weather tyres. Porsche GB Junior Harper’s result was enough to see him secure the 2019 Pro category championship – the youngest ever Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion – his points tally moving the title out of the reach of title rivals Webster and Lewis Plato (Motorbase Performance).

Pro-Am newcomer Aaron Mason (Team Connect It) took his maiden category victory in his debut race, McCarthy and Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) completing the Pro-Am podium. Sherwood’s finish in P3 overall was a noteworthy performance, the Am victory – his fifth category win of the season and his thirtieth consecutive appearance on the Am podium – putting him within striking distance of the 2019 Am title. Joining Sherwood on the Am category podium were Kyle-Henney in debutant Khera in P5 and P6 overall respectively.

Gamble’s victory – his third of the season – moved him to within two championship points of Webster in the fight for the runners-up spot. For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Gamble – Pro, Mason Pro-Am and Sherwood – Am each receive one additional championship point. As part of the 2019 podium procedure, winner Gamble selected at random the number 6 ball, which reverses the grid positions of the top 6 overall race finishers from round thirteen. This formed the starting grid for round fourteen; Khera, Kyle-Henney, Mason, Sherwood, Wylie and Gamble.

Race two
A wet track saw 22 cars assemble on the grid shod with grooved wet weather tyres for the second of the weekend’s races – scheduled for a duration of 28 laps. From reverse grid pole position newcomer Lucky Khera (Team Parker Racing) made a clean start but 18-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper (JTR) from P6 and George Gamble (Amigos Redline Racing) from P7 made up the most places. Early into the first lap Porsche GB Junior Harper had moved into P2 with Gamble just behind in P3, on the second lap Gamble overtook the newly crowned 2019 Pro category champion then snatched the overall lead from Khera. Just behind that battle Webster made a pass on newcomer Aaron Mason (Team Connect It) then Khera to assume P3.

With Gamble leading out front, on lap 6 Porsche GB Junior Harper came under pressure from an attacking Josh Webster (Team Parker Racing) who in turn had his mirrors full of reigning champion Tio Ellinas (Redline Racing) – the Porsche Supercup driver up from P17 on the grid to P4. Contact through Copse between Rookie Adam Knight (JTR), Esmee Hawkey (GT Marques) and Rookie Adam Hatfield (Valluga Racing) resulted in damage to Hawkey’s car leading to her retirement. On lap 7 the charging Ellinas mounted a successful challenge on Webster for P3, two laps later the Cypriot got alongside Porsche GB Junior Harper down Wellington Straight, finding a route down the inside into P2 through Brooklands.

In the Pro-Am category Mason lead Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) from Jack McCarthy (Redline Racing), in Am Justin Sherwood (Team Parker Racing) enjoyed a healthy lead over category rivals Peter Kyle-Henney (IN2 Racing) and newcomer Lee Frost (Team Parker Racing) – Frost was soon overtaken by Fraser Robertson (Redline Racing). In the closing stages of the race Ellinas pushed to close the gap to Gamble but could not get on terms with the 23-year old. Knight recovered from his earlier incident to occupy P3 in Am at the flag. With his Am victory Sherwood’s points haul saw him crowned provisional 2019 Am category champion.

For recording the fastest lap in each of their respective categories, Gamble – Pro, Hatfield – Pro-Am and Kyle-Henney – Am each receive one additional championship point. For his performance, Gamble earned the Driver of the Weekend accolade, IN2 Racing were awarded Team of the Weekend.

Championship positions*

Overall:
Dan Harper
JTR 141
George Gamble
Amigos Redline Racing
95
Josh Webster
Team Parker Racing 94

Pro-Am:
Karl Leonard
Team Parker Racing 113
Jack McCarthy
Redline Racing 100
Esmee Hawkey
GT Marques 97

Am:
Justin Sherwood
Team Parker Racing 131
Peter Kyle-Henney
IN2 Racing 96
John Ferguson
Redline Racing 76

*results remain provisional

Source. Porsche

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