Barnes storming finish in Portugal

Anthony Barnes celebrates in Portugal.
Anthony Barnes celebrates in Portugal.
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Local racing driver Anthony Barnes finished a fine season with a podium placing in Portugal at the weekend.

2016 Caterham Tracksport champion Anthony Barnes of Ryhall capped off an impressive first season in the Caterham 420R Championship by completing a hat-trick of top-three finishes in the final Toyo Tires 7 Race series invitation event at the iconic Estoril F1 circuit near Lisbon in Portugal.

Now racing with Team Parker of Leicester, Barnes faced the daunting task of qualifying and then three 40-minute races after only 30 minutes of testing on the Friday against the best of Caterham 420R drivers from the UK and Portugal in this Estoril Racing Festival invitation event organised by McMillan Motorsport of the UK and CRM Motorsport of Portugal.

Qualifying on Saturday saw Barnes qualify sixth for Race 1 and ninth for Race 2. Race 3 was a race based on average results achieved in the first two races.

Race 1 saw Barnes immediately take up a position in the train of six cars that started to pull away from the rest of the pack. Competition was intense but extremely fair as three UK drivers and three Portuguese drivers battled for 40 minutes and through a 30-second pit lane drive-through that added a bit of tactical interest to the race. Barnes eventually finished second in this first race.

Race 2 saw Barnes start from ninth on the grid but again he swept through the leading pack to break away with two UK drivers to the front of the race.

An overlong 30-second drive-through meant Barnes seemed to lose three or four seconds to the leading two drivers and could not make that time up but enjoyed a fine battle with one of the Portuguese drivers and eventually finished third for his second podium visit.

Barnes started from third on the grid in Race 3 and again a group of four or five cars started to break away from the rest of the pack.

Barnes was second coming into the mandatory pit-stop for three minutes and then held onto that second place to the end of the race for his third podium finish.

The final result was based on combined times for all three races and after two hours of wheel-to-wheel racing, Barnes finished third - a mere seven hundredths of a second off second place.

It was a great end to an impressive first year for Barnes in Caterham 420R racing and one that bodes well for 2018.