Harper lucky to survive last lap drama after dominant performance

by Vince Pettit
Dan Harper - JTR - 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup GB

Championship leader Dan Harper took a lucky victory in the opening race at Croft over 2014 champion Josh Webster and Pro Am championship leader Jamie Orton.

With the threat of rain clearing in the build up to the race and the sun shining through, Round 5 of the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup GB got underway with Dan Harper lining up on pole position on the front row of the grid alongside Lewis Plato.

After a clean start Harper led the field through the first corner with Plato in tow there was drama at the end of the first lap when George Gamble made an ambitious move up the inside of Plato.

There was a collision between the two that saw Gamble cut across the front of Plato’s Porsche, clipping the tyre barrier before sliding back across the circuit, collecting Pro Am leader Jack McCarthy in the chaos, putting both drivers out of the race.

In separate incidents Peter Kyle-Henney ended up off of the track but after skating across the wet grass managed to recover, Unfortunately for his Am class rival John Ferguson it wasn’t a happy ending as his car bogged down grass with the slick tyres giving no traction. After a valiant effort to recover Ferguson was forced to exit his car and retire from the race.

A safety car ensued while the cars were cleared and the barriers put back in place and Harper would lead the field away again as he looked to rebuild the advantage he had at the front before the safety car.

On lap seven it was Harper leading Webster and Orton out front while a battle was emerging between Dan Vaughan, Seb Perez, Tom Roche and Leonard. As Vaughan and Perez battled it looked like the Motorbase Performance driver had done enough to hold position.

As the battle rounded the final corner on lap 8 Perez made his move, pushing his way through on the inside of the corner, making the move stick as he moved up to fourth place and set his sights third placed Orton.

On lap eleven Orton was lucky to survive a high speed trip through the gravel trap at the first corner as he out-braked himself.

The battle between Vaughan and Roche continued on as the Welshman swarming over the bumper of the fifth placed car, Leonard sat behind the duo awaiting a mistake to find a way through.

On lap thirteen Roche clipped the tyre barriers, splitting the radiator and wrecking the front-right of the Porsche, dropping him out of the race.

There was drama at the close of the race as Harper spun coming out of the final corner. Thankfully for the championship leader his dominant pace throughout the race was enough to give him a buffer to recover and win the race, the final gap between him and Webster ended up as 0.449 seconds.

Jamie Orton took the honours in Pro Am ahead of Karl Leonard, who was given a 10 second penalty for a false start. The penalty made little difference to the outcome of the race with third placed Esmee Hawkey finishing more than ten seconds further back.

Peter Kyle-Henney recovered from his earlier off-track excursion to take victory in the Am class ahead of Justin Sherwood, with Ferguson out of the race earlier there would be only two finishers in the class.

Position#DriverTeamClassTime
133Dan HarperJTRPro21:39.266
29Josh WebsterTeam Parker RacingPro+0.449
371Jamie OrtonJTRPro Am+10.136
477Seb PerezRedline RacingPro+15.594
555Dan VaughanMotorbase PerformancePro+20.736
636Karl LeonardTeam Parker RacingPro Am+33.199*
73Esmee HawkeyGT MarquesPro Am+36.429
822Peter Kyle-HenneyIn2 RacingAm+37.034
911Lewis PlatoMotorbase PerformancePro+43.730
107Justin SherwoodTeam Parker RacingAm+1:13.104
DNF25Tom Roche (R)Rob Boston RacingPro12 Laps
DNF4Jack McCarthy (R)Redline RacingPro Am1 Lap
DNF23George GambleRedline RacingPro1 Lap
DNF15John Ferguson (R)Redline RacingAm0 Laps

* 10 second penalty for jump start

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