Carrera Cup GB: Harper Thrills At Knockhill
Knockhill in Scotland is known for producing two things: great racing and wet weather – it managed both during Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup GB championship. It was 17-year-old Porsche GB 2018 / 2019 Junior Dan Harper who started on pole position for race one, having lit up the timing screens during free practice on Friday and qualifying on Saturday (which both took place in dry conditions), but Harper’s task of taking a lights-to-flag victory was made difficult come Sunday when typically Scottish weather closed-in.
The entire field got away evenly from the grid on grooved wet weather tyres, Harper heading Lewis Plato and GT Porsche contributor Dino Zamparelli into Duffus Dip. Early into the race the leading pair caught a back marker and Plato used it to his advantage, mounting a run on Harper to snatch the overall lead. Almost immediately the Safety Car came out to enable the recovery of two stricken cars from different gravel traps. At the restart Plato and Harper pulled a gap on Zamparelli in P3, but the Junior soon executed a trademark move to retake the race lead from Plato – the pair ran side by side all the way from Clark’s into the final corner, Harper edging ahead. Plato soon made an error going off at the hairpin, this promoted Zamparelli to P2 and his title rival Tio Ellinas to P3. Harper crossed the line to claim the second victory of his Porsche racing career ahead of Zamparelli and Ellinas.
For the reverse grid race – the second of the day’s races – the top four finishers from race one were reversed to form the grid for race two, this promoted Rookie George Gamble to pole position. Further wet weather saw the race start under Safety Car conditions, with racing getting underway on lap four. Gamble led Ellinas and Zamparelli at the front, however it was Harper who once again wowed the crowds first with a move on Zamparelli for P3, then on second placed driver Ellinas. On the final lap with Harper directly behind him, Ellinas ran wide out of Duffus Dip, Harper drew alongside him just as he rejoined the track through Leslie’s, the Junior making a clean pass for second place at Scotsman corner. Out front as the others fought, Gamble grew his lead to more than seven seconds, taking the chequered flag to claim the third victory of his Carrera Cup GB career.
With four races remaining of the 2018 season, Zamparelli maintains his lead of the championship by five points to Ellinas. The next round takes place at Silverstone, a venue where Zamparelli traditionally goes well. However in this wholly unpredictable season with reverse grid races mixing things up nicely, Zamparelli and Ellinas will have their work cut-out to fend off the advancing pack.