Barker Back On Porsche Podium At Snetterton
DATE ADDED: Thursday 16 August 2012
Ben Barker overcame the frustration of failing to start race one of the latest Porsche Carrera Cup GB round to bounce back with a third podium finish of 2012 as the series visited his home track at Snetterton.
The first PCCGB event for some seven weeks started brightly for the Parr Motorsport driver, as he posted the fastest time in each of Friday's test sessions, underlining the value of having raced at the same circuit during a brief break in his Australian Carrera Cup commitments last season. However, when qualifying came around Barker found himself unable to put a clear lap together and wound up with a brace of second row starts on a Snetterton 300 layout not renowned for passing opportunities.
"I reckon we could have been on course for pole position on my second set of tyres, but just couldn't quite finish the lap off," the 20-year old revealed, "I was following two other cars and, when one of them went off the road and kicked up dust at the final corner, I had to back off as I couldn't see anything. It was a shame as the first two sectors had been very good..."
As a result, fourth and third on the grid for Sunday's two races were not, Barker reckoned, representative of the pace of the #20 machine, but he still remained optimistic of challenging for the podium. Sadly, the BRDC Superstar was not to get a chance to show his potential in the first event, as he failed even to make it to the start after a set-up tweak resulted in his car suffering a terminal problem on the warm-up lap.
"The team had attempted to get the car running at a cooler temperature, which would have been good on such a hot day, but the difference in pressure resulted in the radiator hose blowing off, and that was my race run - even before it had got underway," a frustrated Barker lamented, "It's a shame, as it hurts our championship chances, but the team has apologised."
With little in the way of damage, and a long gap between races, the Parr crew had time to make sure that the CARS-backed machine was correctly fettled for the second outing late in the afternoon and Barker was able to take up his spot on the inside of row two.
Making a good getaway, the chrome-coloured car held on to third spot and slotted in behind polesitter Sam Tordoff and points leader Michael Meadows - ironically the same two drivers Barker had been chasing on his thwarted qualifying lap. Clearly faster than Meadows for much of the lap, Barker knew that he had to pick his passing place carefully but, adding to his frustration, they happened to be in areas where his car was lacking in comparison to its rival.
Despite getting the #20 alongside Meadows on one occasion, Barker was unable to make a clean move stick, and he remained in third place to the flag, despite setting the fastest lap of the race.
"I was all over Meadows but was struggling to get the power down coming out of corners," the former Australian F3 champion explained, "As a result, even though I got alongside him, he was able to pull away on the exit. We were well clear of fourth place, so the podium wasn't really under threat, but it's frustrating not to have done better than third.
"The start of the weekend looked really good, especially when we were fastest in testing, but failing to get that clear lap in qualifying cost us a potential victory. Retiring in race one was another blow, particularly as some of my rivals had poor weekends, but it was good to get back on the podium in race two. It shows that the Parr Porsche is still a frontrunner after a couple of rounds at unfamiliar circuits, and I look forward to racing for more silverware over the rest of the season."
The points from race two were good enough to keep Barker in sixth place in the standings with four double-header rounds to run, starting at Knockhill on the weekend of 25-26 August.