CATERHAM ROADSPORT RUMBLES INTO CROFT THIS WEEKEND
The Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship is all set to write the next chapter of the 2019 season as it moves north to the high-speed Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire. The opening two rounds at Silverstone were undoubtedly a sight to behold as the drivers, fresh out of the Academy, began embarking on their second season of racing. This weekend sees the drivers visit Croft for the first time personally, while the championship itself returns after three years away. A newly resurfaced track will certainly help the cars lap quicker as well as get close to the current lap record.
The Roadsport Championship sees drivers retain use of the original Academy race car they drove last season, only this time the car receives its first upgrades with a rear anti-roll bar and a set of stickier road legal Avon ZZS tyres. Most, if not all, drivers will be off their rookie plates which in turn will give them the confidence to push a little harder and explore the limits of the upgraded car, with lap times expected to be at least a second quicker than the previous incarnation.
Silverstone produced two races that certainly marked out who a number of the front runners were going to be, but did not mark out a definite favourite at the same time. That said, the opening two races will not tell the whole story straight from the off, although one driver certainly tried to in Race 1. Will Rossetti turned his front row starting spot into what became a dominant victory, something we do not often see in Caterham racing! An incident in the closing stages saw Rossetti declared the winner after the race’s stoppage and following fourth place in Race 2 (also stopped short thanks to a red flag incident), Will had accumulated enough points to hold the points lead leaving Northamptonshire. Whether he can hold on to it remains to be seen, although Croft’s long straights may benefit him as they did at Silverstone.
Stuart Bell was declared the other race winner on the opening weekend, after taking sixth place in the first race the day before and sits in second place. Silverstone was Bell’s first race victory, although he had to hold on by less than four-tenths of a second in the declared result after the red flag. Whether or not this momentum will help him remain towards the front this weekend is something we will find out come the first race on Saturday, but both he and Rossetti know that the contenders will be lining up behind them.
Angelos Alvanos benefitted from two 3rd place finishes to take up the same place in the points. Again, like Bell, third was his best finish to date compared to his previous best of 4th in his Academy year, just shy of the podium. Given that some drivers adapt differently to the upgrades the car receives year on year as it moves up the roster, Alvanos appears to be at home with the Roadsport specification and will feel that the only way to go now is up the finishing order. One driver who was undoubtedly expected to be a pacesetter at Silverstone was German driver Lars Alexander Hoffman, although he will not have been too satisfied with fourth and fifth from his opening weekend. Andrew Murgatroyd had a contrast in fortunes after picking up second place in Race 1 before his retirement towards the end of the second race led to the eventual late stoppage. Others who also endured difficult weekends looking to bounce back include the likes of Alan Venters, Ben Buckley, Tom Brown and Guy Berryman, all of which suffered from non-finishes or disqualifications to leave them on the back foot after the opening weekend.
In contrast, those who did rather nicely from the opening skirmishes include fifth-placed Tom Power, one-third of the winning Super Team from the Caterham Team Enduro back in March, as well as Giuseppe Felet, Fraser Jones, Glenn Moule and Harry Cook. All of these names sit in the top 10 at the moment, but whether or not Croft will be kind to them will be answered come close of play Sunday afternoon.
Watching the latest set of graduates from the Caterham Academy is always a sight to behold, so be sure to enjoy seeing these names scrap amongst themselves as they discover just what the Roadsport Championship is all about!