Rising star Harry King maintained his impressive run of form in the Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup with his best result to date at Paul Ricard.
The BRDC Superstar racer headed to the French circuit – which was appearing on the Supercup calendar for the first time – eager to fight for a place on the podium after a tricky outing at the Red Bull Ring a week earlier.
As has been the norm so far this season, the BWT Lechner Racing driver showed solid pace in Friday’s practice session, with the #6 entry ending up in fifth spot, just a quarter of a second off the fastest time.
Saturday’s qualifying session would prove to be a chaotic affair with multiple red flags for debris on track – some of which would cause issues for Harry as he looked to secure a strong slot on the grid.
Contact with a polystyrene marker board dislodged by a car ahead ripped the front splitter from his car early in the session and forced Harry to pit for repairs, with further work required on the car after bumper damage from the initial incident caused an issue with the replacement part.
It left Harry with little time in which to set a quick lap as the clock ticked down, but the young Brit was able to put in the third fastest time – giving him a front-row starting slot due to a penalty for Marvin Klein ahead.
In the middle of a 1-2-3 for BWT Lechner Racing on the grid, Harry blasted away from the line to edge ahead of team-mate Bastian Buus on the run to turn one, but Harry was forced to slot back into second spot on the outside line.
After an early caution period, Harry found himself battling hard to keep defending champion Larry Ten Voorde at bay before he was able to break away from the Dutchman and set about chasing down Buus ahead.
Setting the fastest lap of the race, Harry would close to within four tenths of a second of his team-mate by the finish before crossing the line in second spot for his third podium of the year, and his best result so far.
Outscoring the three drivers ahead of him in the standings, Harry was able to not only maintain his top four position in the title race but also close to within ten points of the championship lead ahead of the next event at Spa in a month.
“The weekend started well with good pace in free practice, but qualifying proved to be a really tricky session,” he reflected. “We collected a polystyrene board that had been left on the circuit, which ripped off the front splitter and weakened the front bumper – and that then caused further issues when we fitted a replacement.
“It meant I only got one shot at going for a quick time, so to secure a place on the front row and to help the team score a 1-2-3 on the grid was hugely satisfying.
“I made a good start when the lights went out to draw alongside Bastian on the run to turn one and managed to briefly edge ahead, but he had the inside line so I had to settle into second. After the safety car, there was huge pressure from Larry behind me, but as the race wore on, I was able to edge away from him and then started to close on Bastian.
“I was able to close to within half a second of him by the finish, and to end up with my best result so far and my first fastest lap is a really pleasing way to head into a short break before the next round in Belgium.
“We’ve also made up some ground in the points which is a big positive, and hopefully we can maintain this form and fight to get that first win in the rounds to come.”
Source. Harry King/Photo. Porsche
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