06:00PM, Tuesday 31 August 2021
Holyport’s Harry King competed at the iconic Spa circuit for the very first time over the weekend but was left to ponder what might have been after an on-track collision robbed him of a chance to compete for a podium position at the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
The Porsche GB Junior Driver was on course for his best result in the competition, one of the support races for Formula 1, and his ongoing defence of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB title means his opportunities to race in the Supercup have been limited.
However, he took on the Belgium circuit without fear for his Parker Revs Motorsport team, setting the 13th quickest time in Friday’s practice before the wet weather set in to ultimately derail the Belgium Grand Prix.
Qualifying well in the wet, Harry lined up for the start in 11th place and the second-best rookie, just two-tenths of a second behind class rival Laurin Heinrich.
He was initially able to stay out of trouble, avoiding the spinning car of Larry Ten Voorde as the field streamed through Eau Rouge and Radillon for the first time. He was quickly into the top six before the safety car was deployed. When racing resumed he put pressure on guest driver Morris Schuring and made a fine move to go past him in Les Combes, however, at turn 16 he was tagged into a spin by Schuring and dropped to the back of the field, narrowly avoiding a tyre wall in the process. Schuring was handed a 10 second time penalty for the clash that ultimately prevented Harry from fighting for his strongest result of the year to date. He will now head to the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands before rounding off his maiden season in the series with a double header at Monza in Italy.
"Having never visited Spa before, it was a fantastic experience to get to compete on another iconic circuit, but the weather conditions certainly didn't make it easy," he said. "There was a lot to learn on Friday as the length of the circuit means there wasn't many laps in practice, but I was happy to then qualify in eleventh when the rain arrived on Saturday.
"It was a tricky session as we only had chance to get a few laps in before the rain became too heavy for anyone to improve, but I had a good feeling in the car and was confident going into race day.
"I really felt I had clicked with the car in those conditions and took full advantage at the start of the race to make up places and was happy with the move that got me up into fifth spot. The car was getting stronger, and I knew we'd be in a good position going into the later stages of the race as it came to me, but unfortunately, contact from a guest driver undid all the good work and dropped me to the back.
"I managed to just avoid the barriers and rejoined before fighting my way back up the order, but it was a real kick in the teeth because I'm sure we would have been able to chase down the leaders as the race went on and could have had a really good result.
"It hurts a bit knowing that we've finished 17th when I think a podium could have been on the cards, but I'm happy with how I have performed and the team has done a great job again. Going straight to Zandvoort means I don't have lots of time to dwell on what happened, and I can just put it behind me and look to secure the best result possible this weekend."
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