Ryhall’s Anthony Barnes finished an impressive first year in Caterham 420R racing in style which bodes well for next season.
The 2016 Caterham Tracksport champion capped off his maiden campaign by completing a hat-trick of podium 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 half-an-hour of testing on the Friday against the best of Caterham 420R drivers from the UK and Portugal.
Qualifying for the event organised by McMillan Motorsport of the UK and CRM Motorsport of Portugal saw Anthony secure sixth for race one and ninth for race two. Race three was based on average results achieved in the first two races.
The opening race saw Anthony immediately take up 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 that added a bit of tactical interest to the race. Anthony eventually finished second in this first race.
Race two saw Anthony 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 that Anthony seemed to lose three or four seconds to the leading two drivers and could not make that time up to the end of the race but enjoyed a fine battle with one of the Portuguese drivers and eventually finished third for his second podium visit.
Race three saw Anthony start from third on the grid and again a group of four or five cars started to break away from the rest of the pack.
Anthony 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 Anthony finished third a mere seven-hundredths of a second off second place.