Bart Horsten Surges To Spectacular Silverstone Podium
Bart Horsten enjoyed a superb second visit to Silverstone in the latest GB3 Championship meeting this past weekend (14/15 August), claiming three top-seven results and charging from ninth to a brilliant second podium finish of the 2021 season.
The 19-year-old from Perth returned to the home of British motorsport in a confident mood, buoyed on by his previous visit to the Northampton-based circuit back in June when he also claimed a podium finish, and was among the fastest competitors on track throughout that particular weekend.
Horsten, backed by The Web Guys, Time and More UK with Briston Watches and Sim Rigs UK, looked in similarly encouraging form when he ventured out on track for the first time on Thursday for a quartet of test sessions, finishing second in the morning before times dropped in changeable conditions over the afternoon
Attention turned towards qualifying on Saturday morning, where an otherwise routine 20-minute timed session was made more dramatic than expected by a sprinkling of rain moments before cars exited the pitlane. On slick tyres initially, Horsten battled the tricky conditions to bag a top-10 spot before a mid-session switch to wet tyres. After the tactical swap, Horsten moved onto the front row of the grid with a sequence of strong laps, but slipped back to sixth spot as conditions again changed in the dying seconds to suit slick-shod gamblers.
A double sixth place for the opening two races meant the Hitech driver was within grasping distance of silverware. A strong start in race one later that afternoon under sunny skies put him alongside fellow Aussie Christian Mansell at the high speed Maggots corner, settling into the top five heading onto lap two.
A dramatic moment ahead would be costly but out of his control, as the second-placed car slowed through Copse corner, forcing Horsten to take evasive action across the exit run-off area which lost him momentum as he fell to seventh spot. Stuck in the dirty air of the cars ahead, Horsten came home seventh.
The former British F4 race winner would again come out fighting as the lights went out for race two, battling to find a way by the car of Branden Oxley for much the of the race. A brave effort around the outside at the Maggots-Becketts section almost paid off in the second half of the race, Horsten keeping up the pressure while defending his sixth place.
Another attempt at Copse again came close, Horsten tucking into the slipstream of his rival heading down Hangar straight before cutting to the inside of Oxley and squeezing through into a hard-earned fifth place on the very last lap of the race.
The EP Warmfloor, Carl Ford Accountancy and Kapow! Your Personal Brand and Business Coach-backed driver started the final race from ninth on the grid with the reverse grid system applied from qualifying, hoping to use his Snetterton recoveries as inspiration to return to the head of the pack.
The fightback that followed was one of Horsten's drives of the season. Climbing two spots on the opening lap, Horsten then moved up to sixth spot swiftly afterwards with a late-braking move to leap onto the back of Bryce Aron's car. Once he dealt with the Carlin driver for fifth, he swiftly closed on the aggressive lead tussle which soon ended in a collision ahead that promoted Horsten to third place, with Oxley again his target for second.
The Australian kept up the pressure, and confirmed a third podium finish of the season by finishing right on the rear wing of his second-placed rival to end the weekend in style. A post-race exclusion for Oxley promoted Horsten further to second place in race three, moving him up to sixth place in the championship standings as a result of his consistency.
Bart Horsten:“I think that without a little qualifying hiccup that we could have taken two third place finishes this weekend, but I'm happy with how we've done in the races and we've moved up the championship table.
"What's funny is that if I hadn't had been quick enough to attack Mansell in race one, I might have been positioned better for when I had to avoid Bearman! I had to run wide so that cost us in that race otherwise a podium was a possibility.
"I think I drove well in every race and we got a bit of a return; we felt like pushing a brick wall and now it's finally come through a bit. Who knows what the future holds. I struggled with the car on Friday but then we recovered really well to get a podium at the end and show some overtaking.
"It's something to build on for Oulton Park and I'm looking forward to going there after last year. I gave it everything there last time and this year I think we're in much better shape."
Horsten next travels to Oulton Park in Cheshire for the penultimate GB3 Championship meeting of the 2021 season on 11/12 September, a track where he claimed his first podium last year on his debut weekend in the series.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography