HARRIS MISSES OUT ON TOP FIVE RESULT Matt Harris set himself up for a fourth place finish in round two of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Monday, but then had to watch from the pits as an unfortunate error by his co-driver...
HARRIS MISSES OUT ON TOP FIVE RESULT
Matt Harris set himself up for a fourth place finish in round two of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Monday, but then had to watch from the pits as an unfortunate error by his co-driver led to their Trackspeed Porsche 911 dropping down to 11th place by the chequered flag.
Sharing the car with another racer is one of the many new experiences that Harris has to acclimatise to in his first season of sportscar racing. In round one on Easter Saturday, Harris' Porsche had been 12th in the GTC class when he took over from partner Miles Hulford at the mid-race pit stop, and Matt impressed greatly as he charged up to seventh place before a tiny error in the closing stages dropped him to eighth.
This time it was Harris' turn to lead the charge, and he would start from a very strong position having gone fourth quickest in class in his first ever GT qualifying session. He soon realised that the opening laps of a sportscar race require a very different style to the short sprints that he was accustomed to during his years in junior single-seater championships.
"Doing a rolling start with big wide cars all around was a bit strange," Harris admitted. "I also had to remind myself not to push too hard at first at it was a long race."
He held onto fourth place and settled in behind his race one nemesis (and former Formula BMW rival) Philip Glew, who proved to quite an impediment.
"Glew's Porsche was pouring fluid out of the back," said Harris. "It made my life absolute hell for about six or seven laps. I must have been mopping it all up, because the car behind me seemed like it was on rails and I was really struggling for grip.
"Eventually the fluid stopped and I was able to settle into a rhythm. I was reeling in the top three cars and feeling quite comfortable. Then I made a couple of small mistakes, and I think I took the edge off the tyres again as well. That allowed the guy behind to catch me and put me under pressure. Unfortunately I crumbled a little and he slipped through."
Nevertheless, when Harris pitted he was still in a strong fifth place. Unfortunately Hulford lost ground early in his stint and then fell back further with a very time consuming spin, leaving the duo 11th in the final results.
"It was a shame, because with Glew eventually retiring I think we would have gone back to at least fourth place," Matt said. "Unfortunately dropping right down to 11th meant we couldn't even salvage another point.
"The disappointment of everything that happened after my stint slightly overshadowed the fact that I really enjoyed myself during that race.
"Looking at the first weekend overall, I'm really happy with my switch to sportscars. All through my career, either I haven't had the machinery to be competitive, or I've made mistakes in my driving. Now I feel I'm driving well, and I know I'm with a very good team, so it's all looking positive."