After a long winter break, Clitheroe-based rallycross superstar Simon Horton opened up his 2014 season campaign with a first podium finish at the Eurocircuit near Valkenswaard in Holland.
Since the final race of the 2012 season, the Hortonracing team have been re-engineering the 550+ horse power Subaru Impreza used by Simon in the sports elite supercar division, the highest level of Rallycross in the UK.
With the help of many Clitheroe-based companies including rally suspension manufacturer Proflex, Sabden Motor Bodies and FX Motorsport, Simon and his team now have the best opportunity to fight for event victories and the possibility to claim a championship title in Horton’s 10th year in the sport.
In the first race in 2014, things could not have gone much better for Horton after an 18-month absence from the top division.
The Eurocircuit was a brand new track for Horton, and he took to the track very early to find his feet and make sure there was no issues with the car at full race pace.
Much to the team’s delight, Simon returned to the pits with confidence and praise for the revitalised Subaru.
As the day progressed into the qualifying period, it became clear that Horton was very much on the pace with his championship rivals, was continuously trading places with Steve Harris in his Ford Focus WRC, for third and fourth position.
Unfortunately, both drivers made contact, resulting in Simon’s car receiving quite a substantial amount of front bodywork damage, but fortunately nothing mechanical.
With the car repaired and ready for the final race of the day, Simon set his sights on securing his maiden podium finish in the division after multiple fourthpositions the previous year.
With a second row start on the grid, Horton blasted away from the line and snatched third position into the first corner, only to come to a complete halt moments later as the lead car spun in front of the chasing pack.
He lost valuable ground, but, driving to the absolute limit of his capabilities, managed to reduce a 10-second gap to second position to just one car length at the finish.
Simon’s next event is at Knockhill race circuit in Scotland on May 11th.