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Team-mate’s crash leaves Barker waiting for debut

The former West Suffolk College student announced that he had joined the German-based outfit in February, having spent the previous three years primarily competing in the Mobil 1 Supercup.

However, in what was supposed to be his World Endurance Championship debut at the Six Hours of Silverstone meeting, Barker did not even get behind the wheel.

Just 30 minutes before he was due to begin his first of two stints on the track, Barker’s team-mate Michael Wainwright was involved in a heavy collision with the Porsche 919 Hybrid, driven by Brendon Hartley.

Both drivers walked away from the incident unscathed, but their cars were ruled out just over two hours into the race.

“It is very frustrating and deeply unfortunate for the team,” said Barker.

“It was a lack of judgement from Brendon and it destroyed both of our races.

“I appreciate that it is hard to judge the gap, but as the P1 car, you should be able to do it.

“It was unavoidable for Mike, but Brendon could have avoided it.”

It was a particularly frustrating turn of events for Barker, who had shown some positive signs during qualification.

He lapped competitively in mixed weather conditions and also on old tyres in practice, which helped the Gulf Porsche to qualify fourth in class.

“On a personal level, it is really annoying,” added the driver, whose family live in Clare.

“I was desperately hungry to get out there on the track and show people my speed.

“I had shown some good pace during testing to suggest that I could have been more than competitive out there.

“It was an exciting time because I had a double stint coming up which I was really looking forward to.”

It means that Barker will head for the season’s second race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on May 7, with no recent competitive action under his belt.

Nevertheless, the 25-year-old is confident that his previous experiences of endurance racing will ensure he shows no signs of rustiness.

“It is always good to get some experience on the track, nobody can argue otherwise,” he commented.

“But, I feel fine and I have a lot of experience. I do not need to practice in that sense.

“The main thing is that I get to grips with the car, which I started to do in testing.”

The car itself is now in the hands of the team’s mechanics, who must decide how best to proceed after the high-speed crash.

The damage caused was pretty significant, but Barker is confident that a relatively swift repair job is on the cards.

“The task to rebuild the car is a big one, but it is looking like a repair job rather than anything too major.

“It is a specialised car and parts are not readily available.

“Even so, we should have plenty of time with the car before the race in Belgium.”

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