CATERHAM ROADSPORT TITLE STILL UP FOR GRABS AS DONINGTON BECKONS


It’s hard to fathom how to top a weekend like that which the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship had last time out in their European sojourn to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps, however the drivers now return to action on UK shores at one of the best circuits in the country – Donington Park on the GP circuit, and with mixed weather conditions predicted once again (although probably not as extreme as Spa), it should be a fitting way to continue the 2019 season.

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.

He may have only won two races so far this season, but even that’s enough for Stuart Bell to hold the championship lead as his consistent form across the campaign so far has helped him to build a lead of 25 points heading to Donington this weekend. Seven appearances on the podium include two wins at Silverstone and Snetterton, and last time out at Spa Stuart kept pace at the front to snatch a 2nd and 3rd place from both races. In a season where one driver hasn’t been allowed to take control of every single race weekend, Bell’s consistency has been key and may well prove crucial come season’s end. Stuart may not stand on the top step on every single race, but points make prizes and he certainly knows how to bank plenty of those.

Incredibly, the man in 2nd place hasn’t won a race full stop, and yet consistency has also proven to be a useful weapon in Angelos Alvanos’ arsenal too. Three 3rd places and a 2nd are his best results so far and he’s even proved to be a dab hand over a single lap with two pole positions to his name in 2019 too. Yes, there’s a 25 point gap but like Bell, Angelos appears to be able to find himself in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the drivers who may be faster on paper, but haven’t necessarily been able to hold their place at the front of the queue for one reason or another. Again, that may be key come season end when Alvanos may well be in with a shout of stealing the crown from under everyone’s noses.

Then we come to those who have been race winners but have also suffered their share of bad luck and less than satisfactory results. Lars Hoffmann found his form again at Spa by winning both races to take his tally for 2019 up to 3 victories, although he will feel he should be higher thanks to a disqualification from Snetterton leaving him in 3rd. Will Rossetti was an early season race winner, but he too has had a couple of slip-ups including a DNF at Croft. Andrew Murgatroyd was a top name in last year’s Academy and has a win from Croft to his name as well, but also two non-finishes as well. A little further down the order, Ben Lopez-Appleton has looked strong ever since Oulton Park and continues to be a threat in each and every race.

Giuseppe Felet, Alan Venters and Tom Power have also proven themselves to be reliable names circulating within the top 10 and have the capability to stand on the rostrum should those around and above them in the standings. Taking all this into consideration and the packed field that Roadsport provides should see plenty of position swapping. Plus, Donington’s GP loop provides extra overtaking opportunities and will definitely produce plenty of action at the Melbourne and Goddards hairpins. Only thing is – does Stuart Bell still have the momentum heading into the weekend and will it be make or break for the championship battle? Let’s find out…

Scott Woodwiss