Ben Barker did not have the home race he was expecting at Silverstone for race number four of the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the bad luck that plagued him and the VERVA Lechner Racing Team at Spielberg continuing in Northamptonshire.
Barker did not enjoy practice on Friday evening, the number fifteen Type 991 GT3 Cup car decidedly recalcitrant on old tyres. With qualifying on Saturday morning though, both team and driver felt a change of set-up would unlock considerable extra performance.
However, the British weather was not playing ball. Intermittent wet weather plagued the qualifying session, one which will surely be recorded as the most exciting in recent Supercup memory. Barker made the switch to slick tyres late in the session as the track began to dry but left himself too little time to post a top lap time. He would line-up tenth on the grid.
“I should have put the slicks on earlier, as it was I only had three laps and really had to push as hard as I could to gain pressure in the tyre for it to work in the damp sections of the track. My first and last sectors were good but a small mistake in the middle cost me a potential top three position on my fastest lap,” he said, clearly frustrated.
As Saturday became Sunday and thoughts of qualifying turned to those of the race, Barker must surely have hoped for a clean encounter to secure his championship challenger status. As the lights blinked out, the Britain got a decent getaway and gained position through Abbey Curve and Village. Into Farm, Porsche Junior Alex Riberas (McGregor powered by Attempto Racing) cannoned into the back of his teammate and series returnee Kévin Estre.
Barker arrived on the scene and was forced onto the run off area to avoid a race ending collision with Estre’s stranded car. This would cost him several positions.
The VERVA Lechner Racing Team car was struggling for mid-corner speed as the race continued, which around the fast sweeps of the Silverstone circuit would prove a severe impediment. It is commendable then that Barker drove well enough to recover to tenth position at flag fall.
He now lies twenty four points behind his championship leading teammate Kuba Giermaziak and nine behind Fach Auto Tech’s Earl Bamber, equal third with Sven Müller of Team Project 1.
We conclude with Barker’s thoughts on a difficult weekend. “It just was not my weekend and I am disappointed not to have been able to show my true ability in front of my home crowd and supporters. I am still third in the championship and we are leading the team’s standings after another strong result for my teammate. I already have some strong ideas and ambitions on car set-up and performance going into Hockenheim in two weeks’ time.”