Top five for Barker around Monaco streets
DATE ADDED: Sunday 25th May 2014
Ben Barker moved himself into a share of second place in the hotly-contested Porsche Mobil1 Supercup series after claiming a top five finish on the streets of Monaco at the weekend.
The 23-year old, in his second outing with the Verva Lechner Racing team, arrived in the Principality buoyed by a maiden podium appearance at round one in Barcelona, and determined to better the ninth-place he achieved on his first Porsche appearance in Monaco a year ago.
Thursday’s lone practice session confirmed that the #15 machine was quick around the tight circuit, leaving Barker confident that he could secure a good grid position but, when it came down to it, a slight error and the close performance of the field restricted the Briton to fifth place.
“It was a pretty good lap, but I made a tiny mistake in the final sector and that was enough to cost me a couple of positions,” the former Monaco Historique F3 race winner admitted, “It’s so close, especially at the front of the grid, so it doesn’t take much to drop you down the order. I wasn’t as committed on the brakes as I needed to be and, instead of probably being third on the grid, I was fifth….”
Opening the programme ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, the Supercup field played to a packed crowd on Sunday but, with overtaking at a premium in the Principality, Barker knew that he would either need a demon start or mistakes from those ahead of him to move the CARS-backed Porsche up the order on race day. Neither came his way on the opening lap, leaving the Briton in fifth place, chasing rookie Conor de Phillippi and with Sven Muller on his tail.
“It was typical Monaco,” Barker confirmed, “The car was very quick, and I was all over the back of Conor, but there was simply no opportunity to pass. I wasn’t going to make a lairy move just to gain one more position because, here of all places, it probably have ended with me going home empty-handed. I also had another car right behind me, so I needed to make sure I didn’t give him the opportunity to make a move.
“Monaco is one of my favourite events, and there is such a rich history of racing here that I really wanted to stand on the podium but, in truth, the result was largely decided by qualifying. I had good pace in both qualifying and race, and that is encouraging for future rounds, but consistency is the key to the championship and, from that point of view, I’ll take a top five result from this weekend.
“Third and fifth places from the first two rounds is not a bad return, especially with a new team, and I know that I can be a podium contender everywhere. I’ll just keep pushing to turn top threes into that first win…”
Barker’s efforts in Monaco lifted him into a share of second in the overall standings, equal on points with Verva team-mate Kuba Giermaziak and just eight points off the lead. Moreover, Verva Lechner Racing moved to the head of the teams’ championship, and currently holds a slim three-point advantage over its nearest rival.
Barker’s next Porsche Mobil1 Supercup outing will come at the Red Bull Ring in Austria over the weekend of 20-22 June but, before that, he will make his US racing debut after being called up to join the GB Autosport team for the Tudor United Sportscar Championship round in Detroit.
“This is a very exciting opportunity,” Barker admitted, “The US sportscar scene is very strong, especially under the TUSC banner, and I am delighted to have been invited to race in Detroit. The Tully’s Coffee car is in its first season in the series, but I am looking forward to racing in such an iconic motoring city and on the support bill for the Verizon Indycar Series the week after the Indianapolis 500. I can’t wait to get started….”