Barker breaks top six in Nurburgring Supercup
DATE ADDED: Monday 8th July 2013
Ben Barker produced the best result yet in his short Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup career, breaking into the top six overall on the relatively unfamiliar surrounds of the ‘neue’ Nurburgring in Germany.
The Briton, who has just three Supercup starts to his name but with a top ten finish in each, has always maintained that the top five is his aim for 2013. However, after his latest performance, that target may have to be reviewed.
Refusing to be disheartened by only logging the eleventh best time in practice, Barker – who finished second overall in the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup GB standings – continued to perfect the hilly German circuit during the early part of qualifying, before banging in a lap good enough for a spot on the outside of row four.
“The results from practice were distorted by five drivers having fresh tyres they could carry over from Silverstone so, taking that into account, our position, achieved on old tyres, was probably to be expected,” the 21-year old commented, “Things were a bit more realistic in qualifying, where I initially posted the seventh-best lap, only to be shuffled down the order when other drivers went out.
“I knew that there was good speed in the Team Bleekemolen car though and was able to show that by improving my own lap second time around. It still wasn’t the perfect lap as I didn’t link up every sector and lost a couple of tenths when I had to life behind another car exiting the chicane, but to be just four-tenths off the pole time was very encouraging.”
Having made decent starts to each of his previous three races in the category, Barker was confident of being to make up ground early at the Nurburgring, but probably didn’t expect his gain two places within a couple of corners. Running behind title contender Kuba Giermaziak, the Briton even dared to take a look at a better position, passing the Pole for fifth before fourth-placed Sean Edwards, the current points leader, inadvertently edged the #10 car towards the pit entry, forcing Barker to back off and settle into his hard-earned fifth place.
As the race wore on, however, the tyres on the CARS-backed Porsche began to fade and, after falling away from Edwards, Barker found himself back in the clutches of former GP2 Series racewinner and Red Bull protégé Michael Ammermuller, whom he had dispatched so cleanly on lap one. Attempting to defend his position in the closing stages, Barker locked up his rear wheels on the approach to the chicane and, despite still being able to make the corner, his unorthodox exit line allowed his rival through.
“It was a shame to make an error so late in the race, but I was already struggling for grip by then,” Barker explained, “I just came down through the gears too fast and that was all it took for the rears to lock up more than usual. I couldn’t take my normal line and Ammermuller was gone.
“That aside, I was really pleased with the way the race went. I made an aggressive start and picked up a couple of places, and was then able to challenge both Giermaziak and Edwards on merit. I could have been as high as fourth had it not been for having to lift when Sean compromised my line, but I’ll take this result. We’re continuing to make good progress with the car, and I really believe that we have the pace to challenge for the podium. That has to be the new aim going forward…”
Sixth place in Germany confirms Barker in seventh spot in the overall standings, and second only to Nurburgring race winner Michael Christensen in the Rookie Cup for first-year drivers.
The fifth round of the 2013 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup takes place in support of the Hungarian Grand Prix over the weekend of 26-28 July.