Ben Barker once again left a round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 2014 wondering what might have been. The Briton though well acknowledged that his weekend at Monza could have been far worse than it eventually was, with him claiming a ninth position finishing result.
Friday Practice would unfortunately not prove particularly portentous for what was to come later in the weekend. The session took place in mixed conditions and despite Barker keeping the Number 15 VERVA Lechner Racing Team machine near the top end of the timesheets, this was not form that was to be replicated throughout the remainder of the weekend.
As so often in motor racing, tyres played a major factor in Saturday’s eventful qualifying session. “My first flying lap was good enough for position two on the grid,” says Ben. Yet, as in almost all qualifying sessions, the second runs would play a more significant part in terms of grid order. Barker had three shots, yet each was disrupted and the VERVA Lechner Racing Team car found itself with a time good enough only for tenth. This became thirteenth on the grid after a penalty was applied following a somewhat rough and tumble first lap at Spa Francorchamps.
The Briton made a mesmerising getaway and after negotiating the tight first chicane, found himself in tenth position. Alas, Barker would manage to climb one further position by flag fall but only after a moment that dropped him back to thirteenth again. He explains “After hitting a lot of kerb, my steering was knocked off-centre by a considerable amount. I dropped several spots by going straight on at the first chicane and re-joining. I was determined to get back on terms with the group I had been battling with.” After a Stirling effort with a damaged car, Ben eventually did climb back to ninth position, a commendable result.
He and the rest of the Supercup grid now have to wait until November for a final round double header at the spectacular Circuit of the Americas venue in Austin Texas. It is the first time the Supercup has visited the circuit and marks its’ return to America for the first time since 2006. Barker may now have fallen outside of the tight title tussle, yet remains sixth in the championship standings and within a shot of third place overall. Such a result would only be just for the Briton, who has shown speed and tenacity in equal measure in 2014. This author for one, wishes him the best of luck.