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First rounds of the Masters at Nurburgring


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piccies here press release from Caterham Motorsport: The Cosworth Caterham Masters blasted into life at the weekend (14/15 May) in superb style at the Nürburgring in Germany, and although the weather did its best to ruin one of the two races, Caterham's newest race series emerged in successful style. Young British duo Jon Barnes and Luke Stevens left Germany holding a narrow overall points lead after strong showings in each event in their Hyperion Motorsport-prepared and Acre Jean-backed Caterham CSR 260. Just a point separates them from relative veterans Richard Hay and Clive Richards, with whom Barnes and Stevens controversially shared victory in round one. Although Saturday's opening round was blighted by the weather and severe timekeeping problems, Sunday's race - held in bright and dry conditions - was a cracker from start to finish and ample demonstration of the potential of Caterham's new race series. Four CSRs battled for the lead through the opening laps, ahead of the mandatory pit stops. Multiple Caterham champion Richards led away from the pole in his Colards Motorsport-prepared car, but was deprived of top spot on the second lap by former Porsche France champion Philippe Soulan. Soulan held on in front all the way to his stop, pressured first by Richards, then by reigning Autosport Caterham Eurocup champion Barnes and lastly by François Desprez. Solo driver Soulan pitted at exactly half way - stopping in the pit lane for the mandatory two minutes and exiting his car, as dictated by the regulations. Within three laps Richards and Barnes had stopped to hand over to their respective co-drivers, Richard Hay and reigning R400 Champion Stevens, and Desprez had stopped also. Soulan should have emerged from his pit visit with his advantage intact, but a spin at the NGK Chicane on his out lap gifted the lead to Desprez, with Stevens right on his tail for second. Third-placed Soulan drove like a man possessed in his bid to close down the gap to Stevens, but his enthusiastic flooring of the accelerator led to a snapped throttle cable and his race was over. Desprez eased away from the Barnes/Stevens car with each lap to record a 3.7-second victory. Said Jon: "I got a poor start and found the car's new gearbox very stiff - I think I could have handed over to Luke with a bit of a lead had things been different." Hay was third, 30 seconds behind and delighted his with new car: "It's a super car to race," said Richard, "and has fantastic balance. I think as we develop it during the season it will become a very quick car." A fifth-lap spin by Mike Cantillon dropped him from sixth to 12th; he pitted while 10th and Danny Mitchell took over duties, putting in a sterling drive to capture fourth by the end, just ahead of Philip Derby. Pau Arnos circuit director Michel Mora was sixth, ahead of the Dominic Paul/Nick Payne car, that of French father and son Bruno and Damien Toulemonde, Graham Fennymore/Nick Phillips and Gilles Charpentier. Natasha Gladman, whose husband Philip had pitted from sixth, was sidelined by an accident-damaged tyre just two laps into her stint, the legacy of a clash of wheels with Derby at the chicane. Another strong showing from David Knox - who had run as high as seventh - was hobbled by gearchange problems and, in the closing stages, a puncture; he limped in 11th, just ahead of Esmond Smith/Malcolm Johnstone and Alexis Delb. Saturday's race couldn't have been more of a contrast - it was held in atrociously wet weather and very poor visibility. The German race organisers cut the race distance from 60 to 40 minutes, setting in train a sequence of events which led to a highly unsatisfactory conclusion for all the competitors. The conditions did little to damped the quicker runners' competitiveness, however. Pole-sitter Richards picked his way through the puddles to lead the opening laps until Knox and then Barnes - who had lost time when he ran wide at the first corner - popped in front. David wrested the lead from his Colards team-mate Clive into the Arena at the start of the third lap, but by the end of the tour it was Barnes in front, Jon having muscled his way past David with a breathtakingly brave manoeuvre into the NGK chicane. Said Jon: "The conditions were very scary, so I screwed up all my courage and went for it. I think we banged wheels but I got away it." The three leading CSRs powerboated their way towards the pit-stop window separated by less than a car's length. Barnes was the first to stop, handing over to Stevens on the seventh lap. Knox pitted from second two laps later, and leader Richards came in on the 10th lap. Hay took the controls and exited the pits just ahead of Stevens, but Luke then passed him for what he believed to be victory before lap's end. However, the timekeepers later decreed that the end of the race had been reached while the Hay/Richards car was stationary in the pits, but they were unable to provide accurate data to confirm this. Thus the unusual decision was taken that Hay/Richards and Barnes/Stevens should share the victory spoils… "The dreadful weather and procedural problems instigated by the race organisers led to the publication of results which did not reflect what was perhaps the true outcome of the race," said Caterham's director of motorsport, Magnus Laird. "Thus we came to a solid compromise which all parties have accepted as fair, given the unfortunate position." Knox was classified third ahead of Mitchell/Cantillon, Derby and Paul/Payne. Rounding out the top 10 were Desprez, Soulan, Fennymore/Phillips and Smith/Johnstone. Saturday's weather and other problems aside, Laird was delighted by the successful launch of the Cosworth Caterham Masters: "The CSRs have all proved outstandingly reliable during this baptism of fire, the drivers have all enjoyed themselves immensely and all the signs are that our new series will go from strength to strength." The next rounds of the Cosworth Caterham Masters in association with Autosport take place at the Valencia circuit in Spain on 2 July. In addition to the title sponsorship from Cosworth, the championship is backed by Comma and by Avon. Provisional results Round 1 Nürburgring, Germany 14 May 10 laps/32.0 miles 1=, Richard Hay / Clive Richards, GB, 1=, Luke Stevens / Jon Barnes, GB, 3, David Knox, GB, 4, Daniel Mitchell / Mike Cantillon, GB, 5, Philip Derby, GB, 6, Dominic Paul / Nick Payne, GB, etc Fastest lap: Barnes, 2m 28.790s / 77.4mph est rec Round 2 Nürburgring 15 May 28 laps/89.6 miles 1, François Desprez, FRA, 1h 03m 31.052s, 84.6 mph 2, Stevens / Barnes, , +3.672s 3, Hay / Richards, , +31.591s 4, Mitchell / Cantillon, , +56.144s 5, Derby, , +56.665s 6, Michel Mora, FRA, +56.720s, etc Fastest lap: Barnes, 2m 08.858s / 89.4 mph rec Provisional championship standings 1 Stevens/Barnes, 38 points; 2 Richards/Hay, 37; 3 Desprez, 33; 4 Mitchell/Cantillon, 32; 5 Derby, 30; 6 Paul/Payne, 27, etc. Nick Carter Telephone 01530 563200 Max Communications 14 High Street Packington Ashby-de-la-Zouch Leicestershire LE65 1WH After hours telephone: 07803 274701 Edited by - fatcat on 16 May 2005 13:08:27

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