Ben Barker suffered his worst Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race of 2014 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Sunday, bad luck masking potential podium placing pace.
Following his first ever Supercup podium at round one in Barcelona and another strong showing in Monte Carlo, the former Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain star was looking to build on this momentum.
Around the relatively compact 2.69 Spielberg venue, traffic proved to be a perennial issue for all entrants.
Whilst VERVA Lechner Racing team entrant Barker was posting quick sector times, he was unable to stitch them all together for a truly stunning practice lap time.
The issue of traffic would follow on into the Saturday qualifying session. The 23-year-old had his first run on fresh rubber spoilt by slower drivers and decided to wait in the pit lane before attempting a second decisive bid.
Lying in ninth at the time, Barker knew he needed a good time and despite his first real lap again suffering at the hands of traffic, he kept his cool. “I knew I could not make a mistake and there were probably areas where I could have pushed more but I wanted to bank a good time,” he explained, following a final lap that netted him a fantastic fourth position on the starting grid.
Whilst the Briton did not exactly enjoy a perfect getaway, he was competing for third as the field approached the daunting turn one together. However, in the bundle that ensued Barker was forced wide following contact and exited the corner in sixth position.
That was not the end of the number fifteen Porsche’s troubles, a soft brake pedal led to an alarming moment at turn one later in the race and caused a fall to eight position for Barker. “It could have gone a whole lot better,” was the British driver’s conclusion, adding “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!”
Barker now heads to the USA this weekend to contest the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship’s Watkins Glen Six Hours for the Tully’s Coffee supported GB Autosport squad. Looking ahead to the first weekend of July, we conclude with Barker’s thoughts on his home Supercup race. “Silverstone is next up and I will 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 is a long way to go yet.”