Ben Barker once again showed himself to be firmly among the top contenders in the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, by snatching an eighth position finish following the sixth race of the contest at the Hungaroring last weekend.
With many of the Britain’s principal rivals having already competed at the venue in 2014 with the Carrera Cup Deutschland, he was at a disadvantage before any track action had begun. Using Friday’s practice session to build up his knowledge of the circuit, on which he hasn’t competed in the Type 991 GT3 Cup car since the Supercup round in 2013, the VERVA Lechner Racing Team pilot immediately hit form in qualifying.
“On my first set of tyres in qualifying, I had a great run, slotting into second position, less than a tenth off provisional pole,” Barker recounted. However, his second run would not prove anywhere near as successful. As track conditions improved with temperature, times began to tumble. With fresh tyres Barker was aiming for the top. It wasn’t to be.
“The track was almost a second quicker than on my first run and my tyres’ sweet spot was only for one flying lap and I could not maximise it.” This netted Ben a disappointing tenth on the grid, yet he was only mere fractions of a second from pole position.
The twisty Hungaroring circuit is notoriously difficult when it comes to overtaking. Thus the start would prove vital and Barker made up two positions. He would circulate and eventually cross the finishing line in eight position, scoring more vital points. The statistics tell only a small portion of the story, as Barker confirms, saying “My car was quick at the beginning of the race but as the temperatures changed I began to struggle a little with oversteer, which made defending my position important as pressing on.”
The Supercup now enjoys a summer break before returning to the fabulous Spa Francorchamps venue in Belgium on the penultimate weekend of August. Barker sits thirty nine points behind his championship leading teammate Kuba Giermaziak. The Britain remains optimistic heading into the final four races of the season.
We conclude with his thoughts. “I am still fourth in the championship, not too far away from third (Seven points) and now go the tracks where the Carrera Cup Deutschland drivers will not have as much of an advantage with track knowledge. These are places I know a little better too, so I look forward to part two of the season and making a podium comeback.”