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Jul 22, 2014 - 06:22 AM
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Sharp Shows Podium Potential During Mixed Spa Outing
Posted by: newsla on Jul 22, 2014 - 06:18 AM
Sports Cars
Sharp Shows Podium Potential During Mixed Spa Outing


Tom Sharp and the IDL Racing with CWS team showed their potential as podium contenders in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship during the latest meeting at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium last weekend (11-12 July).

 

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Sharp and team-mate Colin White ran as high as fourth in both of the two one-hour races during the championship’s annual overseas meeting, however they were once again left without the final results their performances deserved.

Sharp’s first visit to the prestigious 4.35 mile circuit started well, the 22 year old carding the team’s best grid position of the season so far with ninth in qualifying for race two. White had earlier put their Ginetta G55 GT3 nineteenth on the grid for race one.

White started the opening race in car and after benefitting from a number of his rivals making last minute tyre changes to move to ninth, he fully maximised the potential of the Ginetta to pick his way through to fourth place by the end of lap five.

With a large gap to the front three ahead, he went on to hold fourth for the remainder of his stint. Unfortunately though, an incident just as he headed to the pitlane to hand the car over to Sharp lost the team some ground.

Sharp took to the track back in eighth place, and with a large gap to the pack ahead, he focused on maintaining the place to the finish for what the team thought was their best result of the season so far.

Unfortunately they were awarded a thirty second penalty post-race though for 'causing an avoidable incident', in reference to White's excursion prior to the pitstop. This dropped them to seventeenth in the final classifications, but confidence was high for race two with their higher starting position.

Sharp had a first-ever British GT top six finish in his sights for the race, and it certainly looked on the cards after another great opening lap saw him storm through to fourth place, a position he ran in for the next few laps.

Just as he was starting to pull away from the pack behind and settle in fourth though, disaster struck. A wishbone failure heading through one of the most fearsome corners in the world, the 140mph Eau Rouge, led to a huge accident that Sharp was lucky to walk away from uninjured.

For Sharp, it was a frustrating return to British GT duty after his race-winning exploits in the VdeV Championship two weeks previous, but he’s returned to the UK with plenty of positives to take from the weekend.

Tom Sharp: “I’d never been to Spa before the weekend, so it was always going to be a difficult meeting. Therefore I was so happy with my qualifying session to be in the top ten, which put us in a good position for race two after a tough end to race one.

“I got the best possible start and just went for it, I didn’t hold back and made it up to fourth. Unfortunately we encountered a failure at the worst possible place, resulting in substantial damage. With the performance we showed though, we’re hoping to improve on our results in the final two meetings.”

Sharp and the IDL team now get a bit of a break to repair the Ginetta, with the next round of the championship taking place in six weeks time on 30/31 August at Brands Hatch, a circuit at which the team led a British GT race at for the first time last season.


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