Ben Barker suffered another frustrating weekend in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland as he battled understeer at Zandvoort.
After suffering two retirements at the previous round at the Norisring the Englishman was looking to get his title challenge back on track, unfortunately for Barker the problems would start to manifest themselves in qualifying.
“Qualifying was very strange,” he admitted, “We thought something was off during practice but the mistake masked just how much slower we were. There was a lot of understeer with the first two sets of tyres that we used in qualifying and, even when we altered the set-up for the third set, things didn’t change that much, and we were still over a second off the pace.”
The understeer issues left Barker to line up eleventh for the first race of the weekend and while he would battle on through the race his ultimate pace would leave him languishing down the field.
“I was battling the Class B cars – and losing!” said Barker, “It was a real effort just to get the car to the end of the race, as the handling didn’t respond to anything we tried. My fastest lap was 1.4secs off that of the race winner, so things clearly weren’t getting any better, and my team-mate was doing alright using exactly the same basic set-up, so we were a little lost as to the exact cause of the problem.”
The Land Motorsport team worked hard between the races and changed the dampers and steering, despite their best efforts they struggled to find the cause of the handling problems as Barker lined up for a fifth row start.
“Everyone seemed to suffer understeer to some extent, but nobody seemed to be as bad as us, we went back to the third set of tyres that we used in qualifying and, for the first five laps, things seemed better, but then handling went off a cliff, resulting in chronic understeer for the rest of race.
“With all the changes we made, it definitely wasn’t an engineering miscalculation, and might be the result of the incidents at the Norisring, but we need to get on top of it.”
Twelfth place would be the best that Barker could manage in the second race and the Porsche Supercup regular was left to reflect on his championship position.
“After a solid start to the year, I have to face the fact that my championship challenge has taken a big hit in the past two rounds,” he said, “Now we’ve just got to focus on getting the car right and going out there to prove a point by winning races. Fortunately I still have my Supercup campaign to look forward too, but I need to give the Land team something to celebrate. The team will strip the car down once it gets back to the workshop and, particularly if we can test before the next round, I am sure we’ll be back with a bang.”
Barker’s focus now moves back to the Formula 1 supporting Porsche Supercup as he looks to build on the fourth place at Silverstone as the series heads to the Hungaroring.