- Dan Mason
Speed Goes Unrewarded For Battling Bart Horsten At Snetterton
Bart Horsten saw electric speed go unrewarded in the latest meeting of the the newly re-named GB3 championship - formerly known as BRDC British Formula 3 - at Snetterton this past weekend (7/8 August) despite three spectacular recovery drives.
After collecting his maiden pole positions in the most recent event at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium two weeks ago, the Australian racer returned to the UK for the second half of the season in a positive mood as he targeted a first race win.
That pace appeared to have solidified itself after two days of testing at the 2.99-mile Norfolk circuit, Horsten competitive in the times throughout both Thursday and Friday's six combined sessions which ended with him narrowly missing out of the fastest time of the second day.
The 19-year-old, backed by The Web Guys, Time and More UK with Briston Watches and Sim Rigs UK, turned his focus to qualifying on Saturday morning hoping to bag a front row spot for the opening pair of races with a strong performance. The weather took a turn though, with drivers forced onto wet tyres as the conditions deteriorated after the opening lap. Worse was to come for Horsten, as damage to a rear wheel suddenly put him off the road at Coram corner, forcing him to stop with no lap under his belt.
The setback meant the Horsten would be forced to start all three races from the back row of the grid. What followed was a trio of fighting comeback drives, starting with the Hitech GP driver coming through the field in dry conditions in race one on Saturday afternoon. Displaying his overtaking prowess by diving inside several cars under braking at the Agostini hairpin, he gained no less than eighth places to finish 10th.
Starting 17th for race two the following day, the EP Warmfloor, Carl Ford Accountancy and Kapow! Your Personal Brand and Business Coach-backed driver made his bid for another top 10 result with an electric launch into the first corner, climbing three spots on the opening lap of the race. Passing Christian Mansell at Wilson hairpin, the pair traded places in the closing stages as Horsten finished 12th in the dirty air of his fellow Australian.
Horsten's final 'burn from the stern' of the weekend was given an extra boost of the threat of showers, and another great start looked to have lined up one of the drives of the season from the Hitech youngster. Surging up to the fringes of the top 10, he joined a fierce 10-car battle for second spot and looked for a way by the cars ahead.
Attempting a move on the battling Mansell and Ayrton Simmons for eighth, the latter pinched Horsten against the inside raised kerb heading into the Brundle left-hander, which forced Horsten into a half spin. Lost time meant he could only recover to the tail of the battle in the tricky final two laps in slippery conditions, finishing 16th but with fastest lap as a consolation in a race where the result got away from him.
Bart Horsten:“It's hard to get a good result starting last three times around this track. It's just a shame that we were there because of what happened in qualifying as we were on for a good weekend.
"The top two was certainly there for the taking for us. The speed was there and I can't thank the Hitech GP team enough as they've given me a super fast car that was really good to drive. We just didn't get the chance to capitalise on it.
"I think we did well in the first race; taking advantage of a few mistakes to make progress and then in the second race I feel I did a bit better at the start. I lost out to a few aggressive moves right at the end.
"In the third race I feel that it was one of my best drives. It was looking really good, going for eighth place and with a top-five result in sight, then we got caught to the inside kerb and that put us to the back. A shame as I feel that was on to be a better result.
"We know going into the last three rounds that we'll be up there. I'm confident that with a good qualifying we can get those results and I love all three tracks we're going to."
Horsten will be back in action in less than a week's time looking to grab his first GB3 Championship win of the season at Silverstone circuit next weekend (14/15 August), a track he took a podium finish at earlier in the year.
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.