DONINGTON CATERHAM FESTIVAL REVIEW


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Terry Langley showed impressive pace in winning the second R300 race at Donington. Photo: AJB Photographic

Donna Kelly reports on all the Caterham action from Donington Park…..

Day One

It was a scorching hot day out on track for day one of the Caterham Festival at Donington Park with nose-to-tail action in all of the championships.

Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship
Action in the Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship started in qualifying with just .045 of a second separating the top six on the timesheets. Oliver Jarratt (28) pulled off an impressive final lap of 1:22:271 to take pole position, ahead of Michael Gazda (6) with just 0.001 separating the two drivers.

As the lights went out, Jarratt kept up his impressive form, leading the pack into the first corner with Gazda following close behind. Mark Lewis (32) also got off to as great start, jumping up from P8 on the grid to take third after the first lap. As the race progressed, all eyes were on Jarratt and Gazda as Gazda closed the gap to less than half a second to challenge for the lead. Mark Lewis’ luck however was short lived as he lost third place to Adrian Barwick (77) only to fall victim to John Whitehouse (4) a lap later, dropping back to fifth position.

As Jarratt and Gazda continued to jostle for position at the front of grid, Adrian Hume (69) and John Whitehouse (4) were handed a 5 second penalty for not respecting track limits. A Safety Car then forced the pack to bunch up behind Jarratt. On the restart, Jarratt pulled away to maintain his lead at the front despite increasing pressure from Gazda. It was a nail biting battle on the final lap with Michael Gazda pulling off an impressive drive to take the chequered flag just 0.114 ahead of Oliver Jarratt in second place. Adrian Barwick took third position.

Caterham Roadsport Championship (Group C v Group A)
Max Robinson (10) was on pole for the first of three races in the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship with Group C v Group A first to take to the track on Saturday. As the lights went out, all eyes were on Stephen Nuttall (99) who jumped up from fourth place on the grid to lead the pack after the first lap, with Robinson and Andres Sinclair (93) hot on his heels. After just three laps, the Safety Car was called out as marshals worked to rebuild the safety barrier after Michael Downing (4) came off track and hit the tyre wall.

Three laps later, the Safety Car was called in and a great battle got underway between Nuttall, Robinson and Sinclair, with the three drivers side by side into Redgate. Sinclair then went wide and dropped down to eighth place, leaving Nick Portlock (73) and Pete Fortune (88) to pass and join the battle at the front. As the drivers started the final lap, all eyes were on Nuttall and Robinson, with just 0.253 seconds separating the two drivers. As the chequered flag fell, it was Max Robinson who took the win ahead of Nick Portlock in second and Stephen Nuttall in third.

BookaTrack.com Caterham Superlight R300 Championship
Terry Langley (73) was on pole for the BookaTrack.com Caterham Superlight R300 Championship, followed by Ed Hayes (2) in P2 and Stuart Simpson (55) in P3. Hayes got off to a great start, taking Langley for the lead into the first corner. Further back, all eyes were on Aaron Head (19), Ollie Taylor (24) and Stuart Leonard (32) who were battling it out for third place. When Andrew Longden (46) and David Bearman (87) went off track into the gravel, a Safety Car was called out on track.

At the restart, Hayes maintained his lead before Langley retook the position on lap 11, only for Hayes to also lose out to Aaron Head a lap later. With Hayes out of the way, Head set his sights on first place, battling Langley for position into Redgate. As the race entered the final few minutes, it was a nail biting battle with five cars fighting it out for the top three positions but it was Stuart Leonard that came out top, taking the chequered flag just 0.129 seconds ahead of Aaron Head in second. Ollie Taylor pulled out an impressive drive on his last lap to take third place.

Avon Tyres Caterham Supersport Championship
David Robinson (16) topped the timesheets with a 1:20:005 lap to take pole position in the Avon Tyres Caterham Supersport Championship ahead of Mike Hart (11) in P2 and Jonathan Mortimer (46) in P3. As Robinson accelerated away from the start/finish line, it was a terrible start for Mike Hart who stalled his car on the grid, leaving Mortimer (46) to challenge Robinson for the lead, with just 0.445 seconds between the two drivers at the end of lap 2.

As Robinson and Mortimer pulled away from the rest of the pack, Sean Bryne (18) was handed a 10-second penalty for a false start, whilst Bingham (71) and Mashman (23) appeared to go off at the Chicane, forcing the Safety Car out onto track on lap 8. At the restart, Robinson and Mortimer held onto position before a fantastic recovery drive from Hart saw him move up to second place behind Robinson (16) with Mortimer (46) dropping down to third. As the drivers started their final lap, Lee Wiggins (32) and Fraser Greenshields (40) were given a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits. David Robinson (16) kept his cool despite increasing pressure from Mike Hart (11) to take the chequered flag just 0.133 over Hart in second place. Jonathan Mortimer (46) took the third and final position on the podium.

Day Two
It was a misty start at Donington Park for day two of the Caterham Festival. As the sun started to break through the clouds, there was plenty of action out on track to look forward to with another 7 fantastic Caterham races on the schedule.

Avon Tyres Caterham Tracksport Championship
Michael Gazda was on pole position for the secondCaterham Tracksport Championshiprace of the weekend, ahead of Oliver Jarratt in P2 and Adrian Barwick in P3. It was a great start for Jarratt who shot past Gazda to take the lead, pulling out a 1.459 gap and leaving Gazda to defend his position against Barwick. It wasn’t long however before Jarratt was back under pressure with four cars abreast at the start/finish line at the start of lap 4. It was a disappointing end to the race for Chris Rankin (14) and Adrian Hume (69) as the two cars went off into the gravel at Goddards on lap 9 forcing a Safety Car out onto track.

Jarratt was under pressure at the restart with Gazda taking the lead at the start of lap 14, leaving Jarratt, Lewis (3) and Lewis (32) to battle it out behind him. Gazda increased his lead to over 3 seconds but it wasn’t long before Jarratt started to close the gap, setting the fastest lap of the race and bringing the gap down to just 0.543. On a nail biting final lap, Jarratt managed to squeeze past Gazda to take the win with just 0.296 separating the drivers. Danny Killeen pulled off an impressive drive to take third place on the podium.

Caterham Roadsport Championship (Group B v Group C)
Alexander Gurr (46) was on pole for the Group B v Group C Caterham Roadsport Championshiprace, with Nick Portlock (78) in P2 and Michael Coulten (77) in P3. A great start for Nick Portlock saw him take the lead from Gurr into Redgate before Stephen Nuttall (99) spoilt the party by taking position at the end of the first lap, with Gurr hot on his heels in second. As Nuttall began to pull away from the rest of the pack, the battle for 4th,5thand 6thplace hotted up between Portlock, Mingoia and Sinclair.

Nuttall’s lucked looked short-lived as he appeared to encounter problems at the end of lap 6, dropping down the pack to fourteenth, leaving Gurr to take the lead on lap 7. As the race progressed, Gurr increased his lead to over 10 seconds, leaving Sinclair, Gale and Portlock to battle it out behind him for the final two places on the podium. As the chequered flag fell, Alexander Gurr took a comfortable victory with an 11.512 lead. A great recovery drive from Stephen Nuttall saw him take second place. Nick Portlock initially crossed the line in third place but was later disqualified from the results after an incident on the final lap. Simon Bennett moved up from fourth place to take third.

PistonHeads.com Caterham Academy Championship – Group 1
Nick Horton (9) was on pole position in the PistonHeads.com Caterham Academy Championship Group 1 with Henry Heaton (10) in P2 and Chris Hutchinson (78) in P3. It was a poor start for Horton as he fell back to fifth position after getting swallowed up by the rest of the pack on the start/finish line, while Heaton took the lead into Redgate and through the first lap.

After regaining some pace on the first lap, Horton set off on an impressive recovery drive to get back up to second place, challenging Heaton for the lead, eventually taking position on lap 7. As Horton increased his gap at the front, Livingstone, Heaton and Hutchinson battled it out for second and third position. As the chequered flag fell, Nick Horton took a well-deserved win ahead of Henry Heaton in second and Daniel Livingstone in third.

BookaTrack.com Caterham Superlight R300 Championship
Stuart Leonard (32) and Aaron Head (19) locked out the front row in the BookaTrack.com Caterham Superlight R300 Championship with Ollie Taylor (24) in P3. It was a superb start for Aaron Head who led from Ed Hayes into Redgate, as pole sitter Leonard dropped down to fourth place. Terry Langley (73) also showed impressive pace, jumping up from fifth on the grid to take second place at the end of lap 3.

As Langley started to close the gap on the race leader, Head started to feel the pressure, going wide allowing Langley to pass and take the lead in lap 6, only to lose a further two places to Taylor and Leonard a lap later. As Langley pulled away from the rest of pack, all eyes were on the four-car battle for second and third place, with Head, Taylor, Leonard and Smith all jostling for position while Andrew Longden (46) and Toby Dicker (27) were handed a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits. Terry Langley crossed the line to take victory ahead of Taylor (24) and Leonard (32) in second and third respectively.

Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship (Group A v Group B)
Max Robinson (10) was on pole for the Avon Tyres Caterham Roadsport Championship Group A v Group B race ahead of Alexander Gurr (46) in P2 and Zoltan Csabai (68) in P3. Action started on the first lap with Robinson leading the pack into Redgate before a collision between Michael Sauer (11) and Gavin Crawford (67) forced the race to be red flagged as marshals recovered the cars and cleaned up the oil on track.

On the restart, Robinson pulled away quickly to maintain his lead into the first corner, with Csabai and Fortune following close behind but it wasn’t long before Fortune was challenging for the lead. As the race reached half-way point, a three car battle for the lead between Robinson, Fortune and Csabai got underway with Fortune taking the lead in lap 9 and Gurr moving up into third place, only for Robinson to retake position two laps later. It was all action on the last lap with Gurr challenging Fortune for second place with just 0.339 separating the two drivers. The race finished with Max Robinson taking the win, followed by Pete Fortune in second and Alex Gurr in third.

PistonHeads.com Caterham Academy Championship – Group 2
Dan Gore (20) was on pole position in the PistonHeads.com Caterham Academy Championship Group 2 race after topping the timesheets in qualifying with a 1:24:736.William Smith (47) started in P2 with Jack Sales (35) in P3. A great start for Gore saw him take an early lead into Redgate before Smith jumped ahead to lead the pack after the first lap. It wasn’t long however, before the race leader was under pressure, with Lee Bristow (91) and Gore challenging for position at the front.

As the race entered the last few minutes, Lee Bristow continued to put pressure on Smith by setting the fastest lap of the race as Dan Gore moved up into second place. The fight for the lead continued right up until the final lap with William Smith managing to hold onto his lead to take the chequered flag and his first win in the Caterham Academy. Lee Bristow crossed the line to take second place with Dan Gore in third place to complete the podium line-up.

Avon Tyres Caterham Supersport Championship
David Robinson (16) and Mike Hart (11) locked out the front row of the grid for the final race of the weekend at Donington Park with Mike Hart getting off to a great start to take the lead into Redgate before Robinson retook the lead at the end of the first lap. As Robinson started to pull away slightly, the battle for second place hotted up with Mortimer, Byrne and Wiggins all jostling for position lap-by-lap. Sean Byrne (18) was then handed a 5-second penalty for not respecting track limits, dropping him down to ninth position on the timesheets.

As the race reached half-distance, Robinson and Mortimer start to pull away from the rest of the pack as Currie, Day, Wiggins and Williams fought it out for third place. Tim Mashman (23) and Andrew West (9) were handed a 5-second penalty for not respecting track limits. Craig Currie (42) was also given a 5-second penalty, dropping him from third place to eighth on the timesheets. David Robinson crossed the line to take a well-deserved victory ahead of Jonathan Mortimer in second place. Mike Hart took the third and the final place on the podium.

For the full results go to Donington Results