It was a steep learning curve at Brands Hatch for Kyle Hornby as the Stockport youngster got to grips with his Renault Clio in his first event of the season in the Renault UK Clio Cup.
Hornby, from Hazel Grove, is taking on the UK Clio Cup after several years in the Ginetta Junior category, and with limited track time is learning the ropes in among some experienced hands, whilst the British Touring Car Championship supporting series also screens on ITV4, he’s also got the world watching as he gets the hang of his new motor.
Free practice went well for Kyle, experiencing new rubber for the first time, setting a time just one second off the lap of experienced team-mate, Mike Bushell.
Hornby then going faster still in the second Free Practice, and narrowing the gap to Bushell, who was once again fastest.
Sitting ninth halfway through qualifying Kyle pitted for front tyres, but the former Poynton High School student struggled to get heat in the new rubber, and as everyone else went quicker it was more a case of conservation, as he parked it up, just eight-tenths off a second of pole position, but down in 18th place on the incredibly competitive grid of 22 cars.
The weather was also to play it’s part in Hornby’s Clio Cup education, as the Heaven’s opened as they lined up for race one, and with Kyle’s Clio set up for dry conditions it was more a case of ‘keeping in on the track’ and ‘learning’, eventually finishing 16th at the chequered flag.
Race two, on Sunday, was dry, sunny and played out in front of a huge Brands Hatch crowd.
Changing the Clio’s set-up, Hornby climbed quickly to 12th place, but it was to be short-lived. On cold tyres the rear end ‘snapped away’ leaving Kyle spinning in to the Paddock Hill gravel trap, and out of the Race.
“I’m not too disappointed,” admitted Kyle after the race. “It would’ve been nice to get a result, but I’m learning all the time.
“There’s been so much to get used to. I’d done no testing in the wet, the tyres, everything’s so different.
“I’m still really inexperienced in Clio, while the guys at the front have loads of experience.”
Kyle is back in action in two weeks time at Donington Park, Leicestershire, on April 15/16.