Barker sets Carrera Cup GB pole at Le Mans

Ben Barker sets the pace in the heat of Le MansMichael Meadows and Paul Rees head the chase of BarkerKarl Leonard and Steven Liquorish top Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2Ben Barker set the pace in the heat of Le Mans to head the Porsche Carrera Cup GB drivers in qualifying for the combined Carrera Cup GB and France race at the French track on Saturday (14 June).Barker (Parr Motorsport) ended the hour-long session fourth overall and at the top of the Carrera Cup GB pack despite two red flags and many yellow flags as 62 drivers tackled the world-famous eight-mile track. Karl Leonard and Steven Liquorish from Team Parker Racing headed Pro-Am1 and Pro-Am2 respectively, while Peter Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) was best of the GT3 Cup Challenge drivers.The air temperature was nudging 30 degrees when the session started from the magnificent Le Mans pit lane and Barker was immediately trading times with the fastest of the French drivers. Eventually, the difficulty of finding a clear lap cost him a chance of setting overall pole, but fourth fastest and leading GB racer was still a good result.Michael Meadows (Samsung UHD TV Racing) was a strong second while Paul Rees (In2 Racing) continued his excellent Le Mans form to be third ahead of Victor Jimenez and Josh Webster from Redline Racing. In Pro-Am1, the leading trio of Leonard, Rob Smith (Redline Racing) and Graeme Mundy (In2 Racing) were very closely matched and covered by just over two seconds. Meanwhile, in Pro-Am2, Liquorish took a handy margin and Smallwood was clear at the head of the GT3 Cup Challenge runners.The 45-minute race will start at 11.15am on Saturday, ahead of the start of the Le Mans 24-hour race.Ben Barker (Parr Motorsport) fastest overall:“I just got traffic every lap when the tyres were good. On my second tyre run I was 1.5s up and got yellows at the exit of the Porsche Curves. It was very frustrating but at least we’re starting in the top four overall.”Michael Meadows (Samsung UHD TV Racing) second overall:“That was okay and I was happy with the lap time until I saw the overall pole time. I’m relatively close to Ben Barker so that’s important. But I only got one proper clear lap.”Paul Rees (In2 Racing) third overall:“I didn’t really get a lap together; there was too much traffic and too many yellow flags. On what was my fastest lap I slowed for yellow flags, so there’s plenty more time to come.”Karl Leonard (Team Parker Racing) fastest in Pro-Am1:“I didn’t get one decent lap! I had a run into the gravel on the first lap and was 1.2s up on the last lap when another car pulled over on me.”Steven Liquorish (Team Parker Racing) fastest in Pro-Am2:“That’s all good: I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of yellow flags and Stuart Parker gave me a good talking to when I changed tyres! A 4m11s lap round here is pretty good!”Peter Kyle-Henney (Parr Motorsport) third in Pro-Am2:“Absolutely brilliant! I’m certainly enjoying it. I just can’t believe I’ve gone from being a track day driver to racing at Le Mans in a year and a half.”Pete Smallwood (Parr Motorsport) fastest in GT3 Cup Challenge:“That was excellent and I‘m finally understanding where the corners are. On lap two and three I got clear air and no yellow flags, so it was all good.”Grid for round seven:Pro: 1 Ben Barker 4m04.752s; 2 Michael Meadows 4m05.613s; 3 Paul Rees 4m05.947s.Pro-Am1: 1 Karl Leonard 4m08.640s; 2 Rob Smith 4m09.816s; 3 Graeme Mundy 4m10.841s.Pro-Am2: 1 Steven Liquorish 4m11.913s; 2 Scott Marshall 4m15.527s; 3 Peter Kyle-Henney 4m16.298s.GT3 Cup: 1 Peter Smallwood 4m20.669s; 2 Tom Hallissey 4m43.896s; 3 Guy Riall no time.