A tale of two halves: highs and lows for Caterham squad in Wales
After PaddlUp's sensational Donington double last month, the 28-strong Caterham Roadsport fraternity headed to Wales and the infamous Trac Môn Anglesey Circuit as the series enters a final three-event run. Off the back of two podiums last time out, the PaddlUp squad entered the weekend in a bullish mood.
The two races were once again split across Saturday and Sunday with PaddlUp Caterham drivers Marc Jones and Joe Priday qualifying ninth and 13th respectively for the first contest. Throughout the weekend, temperatures soared, dramatically affecting tyre life and, indeed, taking its toll on the drivers.
As the lights went out PaddlUp Co-Founder Priday got stuck into the opening lap skirmishes, unfortunately, his efforts were in vain ending up in the barrier and back to last place. Jones meanwhile, took advantage of the chaos by making up one position on the opening lap and then another on the following lap.
Contact and a multi-car pile-up towards the front of the field presented an opportunity for both PaddlUp drivers to capitalise on the mistakes of others, elevating them several places apiece. the ensuing carnage brought out the safety car, at which point Jones lay in fifth and Priday had already recovered to 20th and the former holding the fastest lap of the race at that stage.
In the closing stages, Priday continued his comeback drive eventually finishing 17th whilst Jones made two sensational last gasp moves on the final lap to take another well-earned podium and third-place trophy.
Marc Jones said: "The pace is coming good in the second half of the season but this heat hasn't done me any good! That was intense, it was good clean racing. I had a nice little lunge up the inside of Mark at Rocket [corner] and unfortunately for Geoff, he made a mistake so I slipped through.
Sunday brought about more scorching weather and red hot lap times to match. Jones lined up third on the grid with Priday back in 16th, the former, had the briefest of sniffs at second place into Turn 1 but ultimately had to focus on retaining his own position.
Further back, Priday was pushed wide onto the grass, falling to last place on the first lap once again whilst bouncing and careering across the bumpy run-off. Coming out in sympathy for his PaddlUp stablemate, Jones then had an off-track excursion of his own but managed to collect it up and not lose any positions in the immediate aftermath. He did eventually concede a place a lap later.
At a quarter race distance, Priday pulled into the pits with damaged suspension and a broken index finger owing to the earlier bumps offline whilst Jones came home just shy of another podium in fourth.
The next round of the championship heads north of the border to Knockhill in Scotland. The event will run one race in the usual format with the second contest featuring a reverse circuit layout.