Porsche Supercup lament for Barker in Austria
DATE ADDED: Sunday 22nd June 2014
Ben Barker’s trip to Sound of Music country ended on a bum note as the Briton came home eighth in his latest Porsche Mobil1 Supercup outing.
Despite the series being on hiatus for nearly a month since its last round in Monaco, Barker arrived at the Red Bull Ring determined to build on a strong start to the season and gain further points towards his burgeoning championship challenge. Although the circuit was another new one for the Verva Lechner Racing driver, he quickly showed that he had the potential to run at the front of the field, posting strong sectors time in practice.
Traffic proved to be an issue on the relatively short 2.69-mile layout, denying Barker the chance to string those competitive sectors together in practice and continuing into the qualifying session on Saturday. Having his first run on new tyres spoiled by catching slower cars, the 23-year old Cambridge resident waited in the pits for the right moment to make his second, and potentially decisive, attempt at posting a time.
“I think we waited too long, as I only had two laps when the tyre pressures were in,” Barker admitted later, “On one of those, I had traffic again, which left my last lap as the crucial one. Knowing it was my last chance, and sitting in P9 at the time, I knew I couldn’t make a mistake, and there were probably areas where I could have pushed more, but I wanted to bank a good time. Thankfully I did, putting me P4, but, looking at theoretical lap time, I could have been on pole!”
Confident that the pace was there to challenge the cars ahead of him on the grid, the BRDC ‘SuperStar’ was looking to make a good getaway in the race, especially with the start-finish straight culminating in a steep climb to turn one. Instead, the start wasn’t great, although it was still better than the man directly ahead, allowing Barker to at least think about gaining a position in the sprint to the corner.
“I went to the outside, but was sandwiched by my team-mate even further on the outside, all fighting for third place,” Barker reported, “I lost out and came out only sixth as we went up the next hill. I also got a little hit on my front right corner, which knocked the front geometry out….”
As well as having to deal with mid-corner understeer as a result of the contact, there was another shock for the Briton as he defended his position through the middle of the race. Jumping on to the brakes for turn one, he found a soft pedal offered less in the way of retardation that he had expected, and the #15 Porsche sailed wide into the run-off area, costing another couple of places.
“Obviously, it’s not the result I had hoped for, but we showed great pace over the weekend,” Barker countered after crossing the line in eighth place, “It could have gone a whole lot better, that’s for sure, but sometimes you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, simply from making a tiny little mistake like not getting a really, really good start!”
“Silverstone is next up and I’ll be looking for that first win at my home track. I still sit in a share of third place in the championship, and only eleven points from the lead, so things remain close and there’s a long way to go yet!”
With two-thirds of the season still to run, Barker welcomes back Ramair Filters, who will be supporting the #15 car for the remainder of the Porsche Supercup campaign, but next turns his attention back to the other side of the Atlantic, after being retained by the Tully’s Coffee-backed GB Autosport team to drive its Porsche 911 GT Cup America in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours this weekend.
After his latest Tudor United Sportscar Championship outing, Barker returns to Porsche Mobil1 Supercup action at Silverstone over 4-6 July.