Wet pace unrewarded for Harry King at Spa
Rising star Harry King was left to wonder what might have been at Spa after on-track contact robbed him of the chance to fight for his best result of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season.
The current Porsche GB Junior driver was returning to action in the F1 support series for the first time since early July, with the ongoing defence of his Porsche Carrera Cup GB title having prevented him from competing in the most recent event in Hungary.
Harry made the trip to Spa eager to try and challenge for a second top ten finish of the campaign, despite the fact he was tackling the fearsome Belgian circuit for the first time with his Parker Revs Motorsport team.
Things started well for Harry in Friday’s practice session as he set the 13th best time with a lap little more than a second off the pace, but it would prove to be the only dry running available as the wet weather that would ultimately derail the Belgian Grand Prix then arrived on Saturday.
Known for his wet weather exploits back in the UK, Harry qualified in a solid eleventh place for the race as second best rookie, just two-tenths of a second behind class rival Laurin Heinrich.
With the weather continuing to play havoc with proceedings on Sunday morning, Harry lined up for the start and stayed out of trouble through turn one before avoiding the spinning car of Larry Ten Voorde as the field streamed through Eau Rouge and Radillon for the first time.
Up into the top six before a short safety car period as the lead rookie, Harry put pressure on guest driver Morris Schuring and made a fine move on the restart to go around the outside of his rival into Les Combes.
Although Heinrich – who had followed him through – then managed to get ahead to demote Harry a spot, the youngster was well placed inside the top six when he was tagged into a spin by Schuring going through through turn 16, avoiding the tyre wall but dropping to the back of the field.
Harry would take full advantage of his pace to work his way back through the pack to cross the line in 18th place, although he would then be promoted a position post-race when Schuring was handing a ten second time penalty for the clash that ultimately prevented Harry from fighting for his strongest result of the year to date.
A busy spell will now see Harry head for the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands, before a double header meeting at Monza concludes his maiden season in the series.
“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.”