Heath­cote progress halted

Mo­tor­sport

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport All The Week’s Action... - By Dan Wright

Nathan Heath­cote fell from first to eighth in the British Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship stand­ings af­ter a disas­trous event at Ly­d­den Hill on Easter Mon­day.

The Pluck­ley racer, 20, led the Su­per­car class fol­low­ing a stun­ning de­but vic­tory at the Croft cir­cuit last month.

But he suf­fered me­chan­i­cal dra­mas in his Citroen C4 af­ter just three laps of prac­tice at Ly­d­den, drop­ping him down the cham­pi­onship leader­board.

He said: “There is not a lot I can take away from Ly­d­den – it def­i­nitely did not go my way at all.

“Dur­ing prac­tice I thought I was go­ing to have a good day as the car was quick.

“But it was just a mas­sive shame as I was hardly able to go out at all.”

Heath­cote had set the sec­ond best time in prac­tice be­hind team-mate War­ren Scott be­fore gear­box grem­lins struck.

The reign­ing Swift Sport Ral­ly­cross cham­pion was forced to sit out the first qual­i­fi­ca­tion heat as a re­sult, be­fore his power steer­ing failed in Q2.

Heath­cote was one lap from the fin­ish when the leak from the power steer­ing sparked a fire, se­ri­ously dam­ag­ing the wir­ing loom.

“The team worked as hard as they could and they were try­ing ev­ery­thing,” Heath­cote added.

“But all of the wir­ing loom was burnt and we just ran out of time.

“It’s on­wards and up­wards now – I will put Ly­d­den be­hind me and am look­ing for­ward to Pem­brey.”

Ir­ish­man Ol­lie O’Donovan climbed from sixth on the grid to win the Su­per­car class at Ly­d­den and grab the cham­pi­onship lead.

The Lon­don-based Ford Fo­cus driver snatched the lead on the fi­nal tour when ri­val War­ren Scott, who was slowed by a punc­ture, took his joker lap.

For­mer rally driver Oliver Ben­nett scored his first Su­per­car podium, fin­ish­ing 10 sec­onds be­hind sec­ond­placed Scott.

Bid­den­den’s Lee Keeler also com­peted at Ly­d­den, driv­ing a Citroen Saxo to eighth in his semi­fi­nal in the Hot Hatch class.

Round three of the British Ral­ly­cross Cham­pi­onship will be held at Pem­brey in Wales on June 25.

‘It def­i­nitely did not go my way at all’

Pic­ture: Joe Wright

Pluck­ley’s Nathan Heath­cote en­dured a tough event at Ly­d­den Hill in his Citroen C4

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