Ben Barker proved that his podium finish at Snetterton was no 'home track fluke' as he matched his achievement in the latest rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB at Knockhill, the Parr Motorsport driver ending his two-weekend foray into the UK series on a real high.
British racer Barker, who is competing in the UK during the mid-season break in his Australian Porsche campaign, went to the Fife circuit in confident mood after holding his own against the British regulars at Snetterton. Barker was immediately on the pace in qualifying, holding down provisional pole before a red flag interruption. With seven minutes remaining when the session restarted, Barker twice improved his time but couldn't prevent himself from being demoted to third on the grid.
The 19 year old said: “It was a real 'rat race' at the end of the session. Everyone was out on track and running new tyres, so it became a case of dodging the traffic and trying to find a clear lap, which isn't easy on a small circuit like Knockhill. Although I managed it towards the end, I just couldn't quite get the time I needed.”
The race promised a lot for Barker, but heavy contact with his CARS-sponsored car from fellow second row starter James Sutton forced Barker off circuit. Although he was able to continue in fifth and battle on until lap thirteen, steering damage and a cut tyre eventually forced him to retire.
Barker said: “Sutton got alongside me, but then came over and into the side of my car. That put the tracking out and meant that I dropped back. Later on, I locked up into the hairpin and, although I pushed on for as long as I could, there was damage to the tyre. I could have fitted a new tyre but, with nothing to gain by going back out, it seemed silly to sacrifice any we could use in race two.”
The second race started much better, with Barker having a look around the outside for second place, before settling for third. With the front four breaking apart, the rest of the race proved somewhat lonely for the reigning Australian F3 champion as he cruised home to a second podium finish in four races.
Barker commented: “I've been doing some work on my starts with Joerg Kerwath, who engineers Rene Rast in the Porsche Supercup, and it definitely paid off in race two. I caught Meadows into Duffus Dip, but was on the outside, so had to give way. After that, I built a comfortable advantage over the cars behind, but couldn't quite bridge the gap to the top two, even if they didn't really get away from me.
“Still, it's nice to take another cheeky podium, and having the likes of Sutton and Jelley behind me looks good too. It was good to nail the second start, which is the biggest thing I'll take away from this weekend, and I'll be heading back to Australia with a lot more confidence after both Snetterton and Knockhill. I'll definitely be expecting more from the remaining races in the Carrera Cup 'down under' from now on.”
Barker returns to Australia for the fourth event of the national Carrera Cup series, at Phillip Island, with the Team BRM-Total Oil Porsche in two weeks time.