Barker at the Last in Carrera Cup GB Le Mans Thriller

by Lee Bonham
Barker beat a combined field of French and British Carrera Cup racers (Credit: Alexis Goure Photographe)

Ben Barker was the victor of the seventh race of the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain season and a last gasp winner of the Le Mans Porsche Cup after an enthralling Saturday morning encounter.

Starting as the lead British runner and fourth overall on the magnificent sixty two car grid, featuring a full list of entries from both the Carrera Cup GB and the Carrera Cup France, Parr Motorsport man Barker swiftly worked his way up to second position overall.

Out front, Ben’s Porsche Supercup rival Kevin Estre (Tsunami RT) was imperious and maintained a consistent gap to the second position man for much of the duration of the forty five minute encounter. However, heartbreak robbed Estre of a deserved win; a spectacularly deflating tyre literally punctured his hopes of race victory on the very last lap.

“Estre was quick but I was holding the gap. The puncture was unlucky for him but I was there to pick up the pieces,” concluded Barker. The result rounded off a tremendous weekend for the Parr Motorsport team, celebrating their thirtieth anniversary with a special livery adorning Barker’s Type 991 GT3 Cup car.

Michael Meadows had promised that he was focussed on overall victory before the race start on Saturday morning; however the Carrera Cup GB championship leader was never truly in contention for even a podium position. However, he still enjoyed a terrific race, battling with and besting a number of leading French series contenders. One man the Samsung UHD TV Racing driver could not best though was his Redline Racing teammate and rival Josh Webster.

Webster, the 2014-2015 Porsche Scholar, had endured a difficult weekend through Testing on Wednesday and Qualifying on Thursday. Yet changes to his car set-up prior to lights-out meant the ex-GP3 racer felt he had a much better package underneath him on race morning. He utilised this improved car performance in a stunning drive, moving from fifteenth position on the grid to a fantastic seventh overall at flag fall.

In the final laps the youngster caught and diced wonderfully with Meadows, eventually edging through with mere minutes to go. This left him second of the Carrera Cup GB contenders.

Paul Rees (In2Racing) endured a convoluted encounter after spinning down to thirty fifth position following a first lap skirmish. He would recover brilliantly; finishing fourteenth overall and fourth in the British series classification.

Of the remaining divisions, Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 were the domain of Team Parker Racing, Karl Leonard and Steven Liquorish taking their class victories respectively. In the Invitational category, the GT3 Cup Challenge segment was headed by Peter Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) whilst Guy Riall (Almara Racing) fought back from an incident in qualifying to finish second in class.

During a very special weekend for the Carrera Cup of Great Britain, the Circuit de La Sarthe threw up some incredible drama and fantastic racing. The British championship now returns to conclude the remainder of the 2014 season inside national borders and now heads to Croft in the last weekend of July. Amidst all the drama, very little changed in the title race, with Meadows still on course for a title treble. However, with over half the season remaining and young gun Webster getting faster with every race that passes, this looks set to be a season that goes down to the wire.

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