Harper-Ellam faces big test to get back into title race

Ryan Harper-Ellam on his way to victory in race two at Donington Park. Photo: Ollie Read
Ryan Harper-Ellam on his way to victory in race two at Donington Park. Photo: Ollie Read

Ryan Harper-Ellam has it all to do if he is to snatch the SR1 Cup from title rival James Pinkerton.

The Brackley driver endured the joy and pain of motorsport all in one day at Donington Park, with a heart-breaking retirement in race one dealing damage to his SR1 Cup title ambitions, only for a win in race two to numb the pain.

The title fight is pretty much out of my hands, all I can do is try to win all of the remaining races.

Ryan Harper-Ellam

Harper-Ellam came into the weekend with the momentum, after two wins last time out at Cadwell Park trimmed his deficit to championship leader Pinkerton to just 26 points.

However, an accidental clash between the two dealt a damaging blow to Harper-Ellam’s title hopes with the ultra-consistent Pinkerton salvaging two second places to extend his advantage ahead of the final two races at Brands Hatch in November. Patrick Lay was the other star of the weekend, taking a stunning win from his first ever car race, before capping his one-off outing with a race two podium.

Harper-Ellam’s weekend started well, with him securing double pole positions to continue his 100 per cent qualifying record this season.

But Harper-Ellam lost vital ground in the points with an unfortunate retirement, after the two title rivals accidentally came to blows. The chaos allowed the impressive Lay to bag his first ever car racing victory.

Pinkerton spun out at the start of lap four and Harper-Ellam just couldn’t avoid him. The front of Pinkerton’s car gouged the radiator on the left-hand side of Harper-Ellam’s, putting him out on the spot.

Race two played right into Harper-Ellam’s hands, he got away well on the rolling start and never looked back for the duration of dry outing.

Pinkerton stayed with the leader but a slide at Redgate and a momentary gearbox glitch cost him valuable time and limited him to second.

Harper-Ellam may have proven himself the fastest driver this year, but regardless will trail Pinkerton by 55 points heading to the season finale.

Harper-Ellam said: “It’s been a really hard weekend, with lots of ups and down. I was gutted after race one, and it’s also cost me dearly in the championship, but I believe James couldn’t do much about it and it’s just bad luck.

“We’ve shaken hands over it and we’ll move on. Race two went exactly to plan.

“The title fight is pretty much out of my hands, all I can do is try to win all of the remaining races. But on the plus side the car felt great and the Radical engineers worked wonders to get me out for race two and keep me in the hunt.”