MOTORSPORT: Barnes does well at Donington Park
Ryhall racer Anthony Barnes emerged with credit when stepping up in class at Donington Park at the weekend (October 15 and 16).
After clinching the Caterham Tracksport championship at Croft in September and now racing with Team Parker of Leicester, Barnes stepped up two classes to the Caterham R300 Superlight category for the final round at Donington Park. Barnes faced a steep learning curve with only two test days to get to know the new car. The Caterham R300 Superlight is a significant step-up from his previous car with a larger 2.0 litre engine, fully sequential gearbox, limited slip differential and slick tyres and is capable of lapping the circuit over six seconds a lap quicker than the Tracksport car.
Qualifying on the Saturday saw Barnes struggling to find space on the grid with a stellar grid of 27 cars featuring some of the biggest names in Caterham racing. He eventually qualified 14th out of the 27 cars.
Race one on Saturday saw Barnes quickly into his stride and starting to pick off the drivers in front as his confidence grew and he started to close on the leading pack.
Some aggressive driving in the leading pack eventually led to one or two drivers forced off track and a safety car intervention with eight minutes to go left Barnes sitting in eighth place but now in touch with the leaders.
A great getaway after the safety car came in allowed Barnes to quickly climb to sixth and he entered the final lap in sixth place pressurising the two drivers in front.
They both came together through the ‘Esses’ and allowed Barnes the room to creep through with two wheels off circuit to claim an outstanding fourth place for his first ever drive in the R300.
Sunday’s race saw Barnes start from fourth place but with a rolling start this time behind a safety car due to oil on the circuit from a previous race.
The majority of the grid had decided to switch to dry slick tyres despite the race being called wet but Barnes had stayed on wet tyres. Unfortunately for him a rapidly drying track quickly started to show the benefit of being on slick tyres and Barnes started to be overhauled by some of the other drivers.
Despite the disadvantage he remained in touch with the leading pack and finished a commendable 11th for only his second race in the R300 Superlight car.
Barnes, next race will be at the iconic Estoril circuit in Portugal in November as part of the Inter Seven Series.