DATE ADDED: Tuesday 6th July 2015
Ben Barker came agonisingly close to securing a second podium of the 2015 Porsche Mobil1 Supercup season as he finished fourth in front of a patriotic home crowd at the British Grand Prix.
The Momo-Megatron driver was looking to bounce back from a frustrating race in Austria two weeks previously, where another podium opportunity was ended by contact from another driver, and was keen to deliver in front of the home crowd at the biggest event on the UK motorsport calendar.
Already familiar with the latest Silverstone layout from two previous Supercup appearances there, Barker was able to get down to business as soon as practice opened on Friday, posting top five times as his confidence grew ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session. As grip levels increased throughout the weekend – with F1, GP2 and GP3 amongst the other series sharing the track – Barker admitted to not getting the most from his first timed run, before improving second time around.
“After a good start in practice, I was confident that I would be able to do just as well – and maybe even better – in qualifying,” Barker claimed, “Unfortunately, I was a little surprised by the amount of extra grip on my first run and didn’t post the sort of time I expected but, when I went out on my second set of tyres, I knew the lines to take and where best to brake and got a faster time as a result. There were a couple of small mistakes, which potentially cost me third place on the grid, but P5 was still encouraging and a good place to race from.”
Good to his word, Barker overcame a reasonable start to hold off Christian Engelhardt through the opening sequence of corners, before pouncing on Robert Lukas at the end of the Brooklands straight to move up to fourth position. With a little gap building behind him, the Cambridge native pushed up on round one winner Michael Ammermuller, hounding the former GP2 driver for four or five laps without being able to find a way past.
“I was really trying to find a gap or force him into a mistake, but he held his line and I didn’t want to take any risks, especially after Austria,” Barker explained, “The #10 Momo-Megatron car was really good, but I couldn’t quite get close enough to force the issue. After about five laps, his car came into its own and the chance was gone as he opened a cushion of around half a second that I couldn’t close. After that, I had to focus on keeping a gap back to Christian and ensure I finished fourth.”
The points he secured moved Barker back into the top five in the championship standings as the Supercup heads for a three-week break before reconvening at the very different Hungaroring at the end of July.
“It was disappointing not to be able to claim another podium, and in front of my home crowd too,” Barker lamented, “I had representatives from my sponsors – Sacred and Zebrano Bars – here this weekend, as well as friends and family, so it would have been a big celebration, but it was good to claw back some of the points I lost in Austria and start moving back up the championship table. I’m confident that the #10 car is in good shape and I’m already looking forward to Budapest.”
Before he resumes his Supercup campaign, however, Barker will be back in Porsche Carrera Cup Germany action at Zandvoort in Holland this weekend (10-12 July).