Harper home with double podium to lead Rookie table

Daniel Harper celebrating his memorable weekend at Snetterton. Pic by Jakob Ebrey.INBL30-100.
Daniel Harper celebrating his memorable weekend at Snetterton. Pic by Jakob Ebrey.INBL30-100.

Dromore High School student Daniel Harper sparked the second half of his maiden Ginetta Junior Championship season into life with a superb performance at Snetterton.

Harper recorded his second outright win of the campaign over the weekend to increase his lead at the head of the Rookie Cup standings.

It marked a memorable return to racing after his six-week summer break, with Harper producing two dream drives for a podium double.

Harper moved around the Norfolk venue during practice with a 2 min 19.940 seconds lap to finish the Snetterton 300 circuit second-fastest overall.

He followed that up on Saturday mornin practice as the fastest round the track.

Harper had to settle for fourth on the grid in qualifying but with just six hundredths of a second off the front row.

He managed to gain immediate ground with a slick start and the current Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner pushed a path into third by the first corner.

He steered through the Wilson hairpin to reach second and gain a position in the middle of a three-way battle between Will Tregurtha and Dave Wooder.

Harper held the upper hand by the end of lap three thanks to a superb move at the Agostini hairpin but the trio proved nose-to-tail across a number of laps.

Harper’s defensive work left him in control despite the double threat and he enjoyed some welcome breathing space on the final lap to secure victory in front of friends, family and team-mates.

As a result, he enjoyed pole position for the live televised final race - a career first - and moved off the line in style.

He dropped down to fourth by the end of the first lap but the 15-year-old race ace pushed on to sit second.

He posted the fastest lap of the race towards top spot at the head of a four-car pack.

Harper managed another defensive display to protect the lead. However, a post-race review by the stewards led to Harper dropping to third in the classified results due to his part in some contact.

It left Harper celebrating a seventh podium of the season and fifth in the overall leaderboard, alongside a Rookie Cup lead.

“It’s been an absolutely incredible weekend,” said Harper. “I can’t believe that we came away with two wins. I can’t thank the whole Douglas Motorsport team enough for their hard work this weekend.

“Everything was thrown at me across the two races and they were definitely two of the hardest of my career so far.

“Everyone wanted to win out there and did everything they could to beat me, so it was such hard work.

“Qualifying didn’t go perfectly to plan, but we knew we could work from fourth on the grid and look to make progress.

“To come through to first on the road in both races is incredible for us.

“While the penalty is frustrating, the pace we’ve shown over the weekend gives me huge confidence for the rest of the season.”

The next round of the Simpson Race Products Ginetta Junior Championship will be held across August 13/14 in Knockhill.