CATERHAM ROADSPORT RUMBLES BACK TO NORFOLK AS SNETTERTON CALLS
We’re three weekends in to the 2019 edition of the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship and so far, three drivers are beginning to mark themselves out as the title favourites. With most of the first six races contested on circuits favouring grip, handling and agility, this weekend sees the drivers head to Snetterton in Norfolk on the 300 circuit, where outright straight line speed and pace will be key factors in the race for victory.
The Roadsport championship is the next step on the Caterham ladder for the Academy drivers and their cars from the 2018 season, enabling them to enjoy another year of racing with the friends they have battled against in the hugely successful Academy series. With only light modifications, the Roadsport race car is a simple development of the 2018 Academy car; its performance significantly enhanced by the addition of a rear-anti roll bar and a switch to track orientated, yet still road legal, Avon ZZS tyres.
Incredibly only one driver this season has won more than one race, as before Oulton Park four different drivers had taken 1st place in the opening four encounters. That became five out of five when Ben Lopez-Appleton came out on top in Race 1, before he did it again in Race 2 later that day as he took the fight to championship leader Lars Hoffmann. The German may have only won a sole race himself at Croft, but it’s been the consistency of 2nd places in the last two rounds that have helped him rise to the top so quickly. Given that he was one of the frontrunners in his respective Academy group last year, it’s no surprise that once again he finds himself in title contention.
Stuart Bell also has a win to his name as he sits in 2nd place, although that came all the way back at a thrilling opening weekend at Silverstone. Since then, two 3rd places have been his best results and he’s always been a constant presence in the top 5 in every race. Given that Bell’s win came at a circuit mostly comprising of long straights, not unlike Snetterton, don’t be surprised to see his name at the top of the time sheets or on the top step at some stage this weekend. Then, there’s Angelos Alvanos, living proof that you don’t necessarily need to win a race to be a championship contender. Angelos has so far racked up three 3rd places and three more top 6 finishes to date, always proving to be a threat no matter who he may find around him at the front. Perhaps Snetterton will be the circuit that finally produces that so far elusive first win.
Andrew Murgatroyd and Will Rossetti come next in the points, both two more drivers that can put a claim to a race win in 2019. Andrew’s success came at Croft, while Will’s victory was secured in somewhat un-Caterham-like fashion as he was declared the winner by several seconds when the race was red flagged late in the day. Not only have both seen the podium since, but they’ve also had the misfortune of racking up one DNF each meaning that results going forwards will be ever more crucial if they wish to remain in the title fight.
Giuseppe Felet has been another steady scorer to sit in 6th position, ahead of Tom Power’s “Lightning McQueen” inspired machines, with Harry Cook, Jonathan Barnett and Silverstone charger Andy Lees completing the top 10. And what of double Oulton Park race winner Ben Lopez-Appleton? He currently enters Norfolk down in 17th place having also picked up two retirements, meaning that a deficit of just over 100 points will put the pressure on Ben to make every single result count for the rest of the year to stand any chance to thrusting himself into championship contention.