Andrew Baker, representing Parr Motorsport on their full time return to the GT Cup Championship, enjoyed two strong finishes on his debut on Saturday at Donington Park, despite an off in qualifying.
Baker failed to qualify for Race 1 on Saturday following his trip into the gravel at the Esses and thus faced a long race to the finish in his Porsche 997 GT3 from the back of the grid. Racing in the GTB group, Baker finished fourth in his group and was placed 17th in Race 1 overall, while in the second race he crossed the line in 21st to secure another fourth in his group.
Baker’s solid result on the first day of the weekend and his fight back from an unfortunate moment in qualifying, boosted the confidence of his team as they head into the longer pitstop race of Sunday afternoon.
It didn’t quite go as I expected, but I enjoyed the format and I think the organisation is really very good. Of course, it’s my first time back in a long time so it was a bit of a surprise to see how quick the other drivers and cars are. I didn’t make qualifying because I was trying to leave the braking until it was too late but I enjoyed it anyway. The whole day was good but it was difficult starting from the back of the grid so it’s a question for me of just getting time in the car and gaining more and more confidence and ability. I’m enjoying it – as long as it doesn’t rain!
We’ll wait and see how this afternoon goes – I want to see how things go in qualifying, today I’ll try and keep it on the black stuff and if I can get a reasonably good time and place somewhere in the middle of the pack or something like that then this afternoon’s race should go reasonably well.
Josh Webster – Driver coach
“We’re here just for Andrew to go out there and feel around for himself really and learn for himself because we can only prepare him so much but then he naturally has to take these dips and rises for himself. As we saw, practice was really good, qualifying not so much with the little mistake but I think he’s in a better place now because of that and he has a good base under him for finishing both races yesterday which is what we wanted him to do.”
“It is just time in the car at the moment – he’s in a 997 Cup, a standard 997 Cup car so there is quite a lot to do in those cars. He’ll be going to a 991 next year where he’ll have paddle shift so he’s doing the hard work first which is really good and it’ll only get easier for him now so we’re looking forward to the longer race this afternoon and see how he gets on.”
Paul Robe – Team Principal
“I think that the format is good, it certainly keeps you very busy and for all of us, for teams and drivers alike, to have a format where you have things to do and you have to keep working is really good because the day goes quite quick and its quite exciting. As far as Andrew’s performance was concerned, in this morning’s free practice session we really achieved some good stuff and he went faster than he’d ever been before. In qualifying he had a bit of an unfortunate moment but that’s sometimes to be expected in a new environment when you’re trying to push yourself as hard as you can and sometimes you go just that little bit too far and that’s what happened. But we needed a solid finish which he achieved and though we struggled a little bit on pace, we got the result and managed to get to the end.”
“In the second race, it was a lot better because he actually found a lot of time and realised just what the car can do. Today we’re a lot more buoyed up – the little off in qualifying yesterday put him on the back foot and confidence was dropped but today we have a bit more confidence and we’re making a small change to the car just to give him a little bit more feeling of reassurance and we’ll see how qualifying goes.”