Patrick O’Donovan claims first Rallycross podium at Croft
14-year old Patrick O’Donovan produced the performance of a far more experienced driver to finish second in the sixth round of the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship at Croft Circuit, as Supercar racer Ollie O’Donovan finished sixth in the MSA British Rallycross Championship category to remain in title-contention.
Racing a 1300cc single-make Suzuki Swift, Patrick O’Donovan qualified on the front row of the grid for the final and took the lead of the race in wet and slippery conditions around the outside of the first corner.
In only his third rallycross weekend, the young driver battled for the top positions against drivers with far more motorsport experience and finished the race second. His performance went far from unnoticed as he also scooped the ‘Driver of the Day’ award.
Ollie O’Donovan meanwhile entered the event on the back of a hat-trick of MSA British Rallycross Championship victories, but electrical issues in Q1 and Q2 slowed his Ford Focus Supercar, before the 2007 British RX Champion was forced to skip Q3 altogether.
But, thanks to the hard work of the Tony Bardy Motorsport-run squad, the Team RX Racing driver was able to line up on the second row of the grid for the final, from where he climbed to third position by the first corner. But, in the middle of the race, held in torrentially wet conditions, he clipped a kerb and broke the car’s suspension, dropping O’Donovan to sixth. The Irishman now lies second in the standings, just one point off the lead.
With just three rounds of the series remaining it’s all to play for. At the end of the season, all drivers must drop their two worst scores, but must count the final round at Silverstone in November.
“What a weekend. I’m delighted for Patrick. He has done a lot of driving at home in the field, but to race against other drivers, many of who are very talented, is a very different proposition,” said Ollie O’Donovan. “He drove brilliantly in the wet and difficult conditions. I was really impressed with his drive in the final especially, he made a lot of brilliant starts and didn’t succumb to the pressure at all. He had a good clean fight for the win and to finish second and get the driver of the day award in only his third event is special for all of us. From my side, we had a difficult day. The boys worked really hard to solve the problem with the car in qualifying and did a great job to get us out for the final. It was just driver error that broke the suspension, the conditions were really tough. I almost held onto fifth but couldn’t quite drag the car home in the end. We’re still right in the fight for the title and we will keep pushing in the next round at Lydden Hill.”
Patrick O’Donovan was overjoyed to stand on the podium. “It was a really good race, it was quite slippery on the track, like driving on ice but once we got out there it kind of dried up towards the end of the day. I felt quite comfortable on the gravel because it was quite nice and slushy, just how I like it at home,” said Patrick O’Donovan. “I felt more comfortable in the car than I did at Pembrey. I’m really looking forward to Lydden next, I’ve never been there before so it’s going to be new like every other track, but I’m looking forward to it.”
2018 MSA Junior Rallycross Championship Round Six, Croft, Result:
1 Marius Solberg Hansen (Suzuki Swift)
2 Patrick O’Donovan (Suzuki Swift)
3 Ben Sayer (Suzuki Swift)
4 Kristiane Hvaal Engh (Suzuki Swift)
5 Luke Constantine (Suzuki Swift)
6 Morgan Wroot (Suzuki Swift)
7 Tom Constantine (Suzuki Swift)
8 Eleanor Corner (Suzuki Swift)
2018 MSA British Rallycross Championship Round Six, Croft, Result:
1 Julian Godfrey (Mitsubishi Mirage)
2 Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta)
3 Mark Higgins (Peugeot 208)
4 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo)
5 Liam Manning (Subaru Impreza)
6 Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Focus)
7 Roger Thomas (Ford Focus)
8 Steve Mundy (Ford Fiesta)
2018 MSA British Rallycross Championship Standings:
1 Julian Godfrey 154
2 Ollie O’Donovan 153
3 Mark Higgins 153
4 Steve Hill 139
5 Roger Thomas 103
6 Kevin Procter 82
7 Mad Mark 55
8 Steve Mundy 49
Team RX Racing 2018 event schedule
17 March (Sat) – Silverstone – British RX R1
02 April (Mon) – Lydden Hill – British RX R2
06 May (Sun) – Croft – British RX R3
25 – 27 May – Silverstone – World RX
23 June (Sat) – Pembrey – British RX R4
24 June (Sun) – Pembrey – British RX R5
29 July (Sun) – Croft – British RX R6
28 August (Mon) – Lydden Hill – British RX R7
31 Aug – 2 Sept – Loheac, France – World RX
23 September (Sun) – Pembrey – British RX R8
03 November (Sat) – Silverstone – British RX R9
23 – 25 November – Cape Town, South Africa – World RX