Ben Barker says he was impressed by both Black Falcon and the organization of the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai after winning the race on his debut appearance with both the team and race.
The Brit formed part of Black Falcon’s winning lineup alongside Jeroen Bleekemolen, Khaled Al Qubaisi, Hubert Haupt and Manuel Metzger and enjoyed the experience despite being on track for some of the most treacherous conditions.
“I enjoyed driving the car. It was my first time driving the Mercedes and first time with Black Falcon,” Barker told Sportscar365.
“They’re a super nice team and all the members are awesome. I like the race as well, it’s got a very friendly feeling to it but also professional and very good competition.
“I just got in touch with Black Falcon because I always wanted to do the race and I wanted to drive another manufacturer, and they had an opening slot there to do it. They gave me the opportunity.
“Hopefully, we’ll try and put something together again this year and maybe for some of the VLN races as well but I’d need to go through the whole license thing and stuff.
“Hopefully, I’ll do more with them because I really like working with them.”
Barker pitted the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 during the Code 60 period just a few minutes before the race was red-flagged, in a strategy call to hand over to Am teammate Al Qubaisi.
The strategy idea was that Al Qubaisi could use up his drive-time under Code 60 or potential red-flag conditions, and if there were a red flag, the car would have more fuel than its immediate rivals.
The Emirati driver maintained the lead after taking over the car, partly because the pursuing MS7 by WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo couldn’t reach the Code 60 speed of 60 km/h on parts of the track due to the heavy rain.
However, this strategy call proved unnecessary for Black Falcon, as the race was ultimately red-flagged just a couple of minutes after Al Qubaisi took over the car and was not restarted, while drive time concerns were later ignored by Creventic in light of the unique situation.
“I brought the car in to Khalid in the final stages,” Barker explained.
“It should have been red-flagged about three laps before it actually was red-flagged, because it was just a lake everywhere.
“They were really tricky driving conditions, but quite enjoyable actually, because our car was working pretty well and I knew I was doing quick times and pulling away from the second-placed car.
“That gap was really important so that when we restarted, for Khalid, the gap closed a lot to P2.
“It was a pretty mad race overall, but we’ll take it! A win’s a win. It’s a shame that it wasn’t 24 hours because I think it would have felt like we had earned it a bit more, but ultimately they had to call it then.
“There was no power in this whole place so that’s the fundamental issue. It’s a really good result and my first time here, so to win it the first time is cool.”