Monza 2013

“It was good and bad.” Was Paul Robe’s succinct assessment of the Porsche Supercup race at Monza as Parr Motorsport’s Ben Barker endured a trying weekend.  The Oxford based driver got off to a flying start in Friday practice setting a time good enough for seventh overall, just over seven tenths off fastest.

Having gone well during an early season test at the Italian Grand Prix venue hopes were high, until qualifying. Ben managed to set a decent first time but knew there was more time to come from the car on the second set. “We didn’t get the second set of tyres to work for us,” said Paul. “Ben just didn’t get the lap, we had yellow flags, gravel on track so we never got a clear crack at the job.”

“With the level of competition as high as it is in the Supercup this season, the slightest problem means a difference of a tenth or two to your lap time and, at Monza, that costs a lot of places on the grid.” Added Ben. “I was only eight-tenths off pole which, at Spa, would still have meant a spot in the top ten. Here, it meant I would start from 17th!”

Despite starting from his lowest grid position of the year Ben showed his usual form taking one position into the first corner and two further places on the exit. “It was a typical Monza race, with lots of passing and re-passing, but the amount of traffic ultimately prevented me from making up more positions,” Barker noted, “The first corner was like the M25 on the worst of days but, having survived that, we were just running in a train where making a move on the car in front left you open to attack from behind. I was having to look forward and watch my mirrors all at the same time! 

A fraught race would end with Ben setting the eighth fastest time and taking eleventh overall. “We had some tough circumstances over the weekend and we do need to remember that Ben is still a rookie and still learning the Supercup but we showed we could do the job.” Said Paul.

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