PREVIEW: Harper ready to ride the storm as Porsche Carrera Cup GB heads to Oulton Park

by Vince Pettit
Dan Harper - Porsche Carrera Cup GB

Following the rain-soaked chaos of Croft, Porsche Carrera Cup GB heads to Oulton Park this weekend hoping for some sunshine, although early forecasts suggest there could be storms ahead.

Last time out Karl Leonard created history as he took the overall race victory, a first for a Pro Am competitor. After a win in the opening race of the weekend and a fourth in class, championship leader Dan Harper emerged fifteen points in the the lead over his nearest rival Lewis Plato.

In 2018 at Oulton Park, Harper took his first win of the series along with another podium, he will have his eyes on the top prize once again, after a dominant performance in the opening race at Croft, which almost ended in disaster as he spun the JTR Porsche coming out of the final corner, thankfully he had built a big enough buffer to recover and still take the win.

After a frustrating race in round five that saw Plato sustain suspension damage, dropping him down the order, he took another class victory in round six to remain in the hunt for the title. The 26-year-old will need to continue his consistent performances in the upcoming races as 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Josh Webster closes in on Plato, now only nine points adrift, despite missing the two opening races of the season.

George Gamble suffered a disheartening weekend at Croft after an accident took him out of the race in round five, and the resulting damage was too great for the Amigos Redline Racing driver to race in round six. The 2019 Rookie champion will be looking to make the most of the weekend ahead and add to his victory earlier in the year at Brands Hatch.

Credit: Porsche / Dan Bathie

2018 Pro Am champion Seb Perez continues to grow as a driver after making the step up to the Pro category for 2019. The 19-year-old will hope to have the home advantage at Oulton Park, hoping to build on his podium finish at Brands Hatch at the start of the season.

Dan Vaughan had a mixed weekend, ending up in the barriers during the Friday test, he went on to secure his best result of the season as he followed Plato home to take second place in the Pro Category in round six.

Tom Roche continues to adapt his driving style to the Porsche after driving in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup for the last two year. The Welshman has shown good pace in the early part of the year and will be hoping to close the gap on Jack McCarthy in the Rookie championship standings.

For Oulton Park Jamie Orton has been reclassified as a Pro class racer, after securing an overall podium finish last time out at Croft the JTR driver will be hoping to be at the sharp end of the grid once again this weekend. In 2018 he recorded the fastest lap time for the Pro-Am competitors.

Will Bratt returns to the series this weekend for the first time since the series visited Silverstone last year. Bratt will be driving with the IN2 Racing team.

Another late addition to the grid is Tom Wrigley who returns to the series for the first time this year. The 26-year-old could be a threat to the frontrunners as in 2018 he took victory in round 7 at Oulton Park, following it up with a fourth place.

Pro-Am championship battle heats up

Karl Leonard - Porsche Carrera Cup GB
Credit: Porsche / Dan Bathie

Karl Leonard made history at Croft in round six as he took the chequered flag to secure an overall victory, the first time a Pro-Am competitors has ever done so in Porsche Carrera Cup GB. The result gave him a boost as he managed to put space between himself and rookie Jack McCarthy who is now seven points adrift in the championship.

Jack McCarthy has made an impressive start to his Carrera Cup GB campaign after two years in front-wheel-drive Renault Clios. Aside from putting up a strong fight in the Pro-Am class the 18-year-old is the runaway leader in the Rookie class, currently leading by twenty-eight points after six races.

With Orton moving up to the Pro category Esmee Hawkey is now third in the championship battle, trailing McCarthy by just four points. It wasn’t an easy weekend for Hawkey at the last round as she struggled in the wet conditions. The 21-year-old will be doing her best to continue her run of podium finishes having collected five out of six so far this season.

Am class heroes

Justin Sherwood is in control of the Am class with a nineteen point advantage over Peter Kyle Henney. Consistency has been the key for Sherwood this season, collecting two victories and a further four second-place finishes in the six races the series has held so far.

Peter Kyle-Henney bounced back at Croft after a frustrating start to his season to claim two victories, further cementing his position as the driver with the most victories in the Am class. With Kyle-Henney finding his stride last time out he will likely be a threat to Sherwood for the class wins.

John Ferguson had a weekend to forget as he lost ground in the championship after scoring only one point at Croft. The rookie will be hoping for a better result this weekend as he looks to add another trophy to the three he has collected so far this year.

Qualifying will be key this weekend as the tight and twisty Oulton Park circuit provides limited opportunities for passing. With a question mark over the weather again, it could see another race weekend of surprises. Whatever happens we know the competitors will be going flat out to end the first half of the season in a strong position.

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