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Nathan Heathcote plots European Rallycross graduation after lifting British crown

By Dan Wright

Pluckley’s Nathan Heathcote wants to race in the European Rallycross Championship next season after becoming only the fourth driver from Kent to win the British title.

The Citroen DS3 racer overcame rival Julian Godfrey’s 10-point advantage to seal the coveted Supercar crown at Croft in North Yorkshire on Sunday.

The 20-year-old added his name to an exclusive list of Kent drivers to have lifted the title – joining the late Trevor Hopkins, from Egerton, Blean’s Will Gollop and Sittingbourne’s Pat Doran.

Nathan Heathcote after winning the title on Sunday. Picture: Matt Bristow

“It is an awesome feeling,” the former Ashford School pupil said.

“It was always going to be difficult but Julian had some bad luck and it all came together – I couldn’t believe it to start with.

“Winning the title will definitely help me going forward – the main hope now is to do the European championship and a few British rounds next year as well.”

Trevor Hopkins in action at Swindon in August 1985. Picture: RallycrossWorld.com

LD Motorsports racer Heathcote, who only made his Supercar debut this season after winning the Swift Sport championship last year, qualified top in the intermediate classification on Saturday.

He then won his semi-final before leading the final from lights to flag, beating five-time champion Godfrey – who was forced to retire with suspension damage after contact with Doran – to the title by just three points.

Heathcote said: “I knew I had to do everything I could to win it and there was a slim chance of a mechanical failure for Julian.

Heathcote leads the pack at Croft. Picture: Matt Bristow

“I would have loved to have won it after a good fight with him, but it was still absolutely awesome – it was a massive relief to cross the line.

"I have done the British now and I feel I need to step up..." - Nathan Heathcote

“It has been an up and down year – at round seven at Pembrey I thought it was all over when I only just got in the final.”

Heathcote, who studied at Plumpton Agricultural College in Sussex after leaving Ashford School, went on to dominate the 24th running of the British Rallycross Grand Prix at Croft on Sunday afternoon, setting the fastest time at each stage of the event to secure victory.

He is now working on plans to race in the FIA European Supercar championship in 2018, which was last won by a Briton when Gollop triumphed in 1992 aboard his legendary BiTurbo MG Metro 6R4.

“There are some serious drivers out there in Europe,” Heathcote added.

“I have done the British now and I feel I need to step up and do something else.

How the Kentish Express reported Heathcote's Supercar graduation last October

“I would like to do the Lydden and Silverstone rounds of the British championship next year, but the main aim is to do a full season in Europe as that is the big stage.

“It will be a massive step and I won’t expect to go straight in and get podiums as I won’t know any of the tracks, but that is where I want to be.”

Biddenden’s Lee Keeler – who used to teach Heathcote at Ashford School – raced at Croft for the first time on Saturday in his Ashford Performance-backed Citroen Saxo, finishing third in the Hot Hatch class.

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