Team Parker Racing endured an afternoon of frustrations as it raced on home soil at Silverstone in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at the weekend (May 10-12). After showing strong and consistent speed with its Bentley Continental GT3, two separate instances of bad luck ended the outfit’s chance of victory.
An unfortunately timed Safety Car immediately after the second stop cost the team several places, and a problem getting the car out of the pits next time around dropped it almost a lap down on the Pro-Am leader, putting a podium finish out of reach.
With positivity heading into Sunday morning’s three qualifying periods, drivers Derek Pierce, Rob Smith, and Seb Morris dug deep and put in strong laps which left the trio in third place in Pro-Am on the combined times, just 0.005s off of second position.
Derek began the three-hour race and did well to avoid a number of opening lap incidents before a lengthy Safety Car period. When the race got back underway almost halfway through his stint, he drove well to regain a place he had lost in the melee before handing over to Rob.
Unfortunately, things began to unravel after the first stop, as there was a full course yellow and Safety Car period before Rob had completed a lap, which meant other Pro-Am runners were able to stop while the race was neutralised and gained places, the Bentley falling back to sixth in class.
Hopes were high for the final hour as Seb climbed aboard, but there was immense frustration as the car did not want to get going after his stop. Once on track the BRDC SuperStar put in the quickest Pro-Am lap and was consistently quicker than anyone else, reeling in a big gap in front, despite having to let Pro cars past, and gaining fifth place in the closing stages, clawing back valuable championship points.
Next up for Team Parker Racing in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup is the challenging Paul Ricard 1000kms, where the team finished the six-hour race an impressive second last year. The Bronze Test, Free Practice, and Pre-Qualifying will take place on Friday, May 31, with qualifying and the race itself on Saturday, June 1.
“The start was hectic to say the least, it was mayhem. I got through all the trouble and the long Safety Car and we were on it and the car was great. The tyres fell off the cliff about 15 minutes before the end of my stint so I calmed it down because I was chasing Ahmad Al Harthy as I didn’t want to let him get away. I started pushing again and the tyres and pace came back and all of a sudden an hour was up!
“Rob didn’t much get a run at all unfortunately, and we had a problem with the car later on. I don’t know what it was, but we lost a minute-and-a-half and if you look at Seb’s pace, we could have been P1. The car was good, and everything has been great, and it’s been stolen from us a bit, but it is what it is.”
“The car was solid but my stint was broken up by the Safety Cars. We did a good job and brought the car back in one piece and sadly a failure has then cost us places. Seb got in and did really well and that means we’re going to get some points, so we have positives to take with us to Paul Ricard. We were second there last year. It is a hot race and I’m looking forward to going back and we can try to get the win which I think is long overdue.”
“We lost the race under the Safety Car as we pitted just before it happened and then the pit stop was diabolical, so we’ll look into it and see what happened. There wasn’t much I could do. You struggle for motivation when you become a lap down. It’s a shame.
“The car was good, so we pumped some laps in, but being down means you have to get out of the way of the leaders when they get close, so it looked like we were slower than we were, but the pace was good. Paul Ricard is a long, hot race, so you need to keep yourself extremely fit, but we had a good podium there last year so I’m looking forward to it.”
Source. Torque/Photo. The Editor