'Step forward' yields Porsche Supercup points for Barker
DATE ADDED: Monday 28th July 2014
Ben Barker continued his 100 per cent scoring record in the 2014 Porsche Mobil1 Supercup with a fighting drive to eighth place at the Hungaroring, cementing his fourth position in the standings heading into the summer break.
With no testing at the Budapest circuit prior to the event, Barker entered the weekend with a lot less track experience than the majority of his rivals, and had to use Friday’s practice session to get re-acquainted with the tortuous layout. However, once back up to speed, the 23-year old showed his potential by posting the second-fastest time on his opening run in qualifying. With track conditions and temperatures rising constantly throughout the session, however, judging when to make the final push for pole position became trickier.
“On my first set of tyres in qualifying, I had a great run, slotting into P2, less than a tenth off provisional pole,” Barker commented, “We bolted the new tyres on and went out in search of top spot, but under-estimated the increased grip level of the tarmac… The track was almost a second quicker than on my first run and my tyres’ sweet spot was only for one flying lap and I couldn’t maximise it. That was particularly frustrating as the car felt good and I felt good.”
Although the gap to top spot was only a matter of tenths of a second, on the competitive Supercup grid that meant the Verva Lechner Racing driver would line up in P10, but he set about rectifying matters as soon as the lights went out to start the race on Sunday morning.
Making another great getaway, Barker was able to pick up a couple of positions to establish himself firmly in the top eight, before the twisty Hungaroring layout played its part in denying too many other passing opportunities. The Cambridge native was also slightly hampered as the changing conditions worked against his set-up, but produced a composed drive, latching onto the battle for fourth place and retaining his position to the chequered flag.
“I pushed hard as I knew I needed solid top eight points,” Barker said, “I made up two places at the start and finished P8, but there are a lot of positives to take from the weekend, particularly as a lot of the drivers ahead of me had more ‘local’ knowledge.
“My car was quick at the beginning of the race, but as the temperatures changed, I began to struggle a little with oversteer, which made defending my position as important as trying to press on. Despite that, we have made a definite step forward with my race set-up and I’m already looking forward to getting back into action after the break.
“I am still fourth in the championship, not too far away from P3, and now go to tracks where the Carrera Cup Germany drivers will not have as much of an advantage with track knowledge etc. These are places I know a little better too, so I look forward to part two of the season and making a podium come back!”
While Barker still sits comfortably in fourth place in the individual standings, the Verva Lechner Racing squad continues to set the pace in the teams’ competition, leaving Hungary with a 35-point advantage over its nearest rival.
“We were only a point from being the highest scoring team across the weekend, and it was good to see some more silverware heading Lechner’s way,” the Briton concluded, “It was a great team effort, with Kuba [Giermaziak] winning the race and me able to pick up some solid points. Let’s hope it continues to the end of the year.”
Although round seven of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium does not take place until the weekend of 22-24 August, Barker’s busy schedule – which has seen him take in races around both Europe and North America over the past twelve weeks – continues with coaching duties in Carrera Cup GB this weekend!