HOFFMANN LOOKS TO MAINTAIN CATERHAM SEVEN 270R ADVANTAGE AT BRANDS HATCH
Thruxton’s two superb races for the Caterham Seven 270R Championship show just how competitive this year’s field really is, with a very strong leading group of drivers staying close together. In fact, looking at the points table, the amounts scored and the gaps within the top 10 drivers don’t truly reflect just how competitive it really is. On a short circuit that that of Brands Hatch’s Indy layout, it’s sure to get very fast and frantic this weekend between the contenders.
The Seven 270R is firmly established as the ‘coming-of-age’ championship for those progressing out of the Caterham Academy, through the Roadsport championship and now into a third year of Caterham racing. Unlike the lower categories, there is no restriction on professional team support or driver experience. The Seven 270R race cars have typically made their way up from the Academy ‘18 (or slightly earlier). They have now developed into race-focused machines, with stiffer suspension and removal of the windscreen and lights (though they can be quickly refitted for road use) giving them a very similar look to their Seven 310R big brother.
Leading the charge to the championship crown is last year’s Roadsport champ Lars Hoffmann, who has managed to stand on every step of the podium so far this season with a win, a 2nd place and a 3rd place on his 2020 record, the victory coming in the second Thruxton race last time out. Having the knowledge on how to win a championship fresh in his mind from last season, Lars will want to keep up this momentum to try and ensure the best possible chance for two in a row, but he knows the task is going to be possibly even tougher than it was in 2019, especially with many talented drivers looking to dethrone him.
Angelos Alvanos has proven himself to be a quick driver in the race alongside his evident qualifying pace that came to light last year. Now that he’s able to translate that pace into results in the race, he’s proving to be a formidable threat for potential title honours and has so far collected a 2nd place, two 3rds and a 5th to leave him just two points back to Hoffmann with three more meetings to go. Arguably, he has had slightly more consistent results than Lars, but the win for the German is what gives him the advantage at the moment. If Angelos can carry on this fine run of results, there’s every chance he could even grab the points lead very soon. Andy Lees has managed to collect a 3rd and two 4th places so far which places him 3rd in points at this stage and only six away from the lead. He can also make an impact, but he’ll need to ensure he stays close to the leaders in both races in order to make that happen.
If you look at the results up to this point, you’d be forgiven in thinking that in actual fact it’s Harry Cook that’s not only the in-form driver, but he should be leading the championship too. Alas, he was – until he retired from the second Thruxton race, losing him a potential maximum score of 26 points. Had he achieved this, he would hold a commanding lead over everyone else, but thanks to that DNF he now has to pull himself up again from 4th and he will know that he certainly has the pace to do so. In that sense, he’s sure to pull away from what will surely become the new fight for 4th between Ryan Erroll, Neal Evans and Ben Lopez-Appleton, the latter of the three surely the favourite between them to make the most progress. Ben was a formidable driver last year in Roadsport and has continued to show that same promise throughout the amended 2020 season, but there have also been elements of bad luck that have hindered him from achieving the results he and many others will feel he should have achieved. If he can keep his nose clean at Brands Hatch and score high, there’s no reason why he can’t crack back into the top 5 and even begin closing that gap to the points leaders.
Andrew Murgatroyd is another who should definitely be sitting higher in the standings that his current position and results give him credit for. Having just missed out on Roadsport honours last year and always been a championship contender over his first two seasons of racing, Andrew’s misfortunes came to a head when he was hit with nine penalty points which has left him on a little bit of a back foot. Sitting 22 points off the lead means that, potentially, his championship chances are incredibly slim at this stage and he will need a big haul of points this weekend in order to haul himself into a better position ahead of the final two weekends. Giuseppe Felet should also be closer, too, but two retirements from strong positions towards the head of the field haven’t helped his cause as he heads to Brands Hatch in 89h place. Rounding off the top 10 is Ben Miller who, like Felet, has also had a pair of DNFs to go with a couple of top 10 finishes, potentially also masking his true form and this weekend might be a good opportunity to show everyone what he can really do.