Patrick O’Donovan stars at Lydden Hill with dream Supercar debut
The youngest driver in the headline Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy Supercar category, Team RX Racing’s Patrick O’Donovan, delivered a performance beyond his years in the opening round of the championship to secure a dream debut podium.
Just two days after celebrating his 18th birthday, reigning RX150 Rallycross champion O’Donovan made his Supercar debut in Team RX Racing’s Ford Fiesta, and impressed with third fastest time in Q1. He hit a barrier while trying an around-the-outside move in Q2, but battled back to start on the front row of the final. With an early joker lap strategy, he climbed through the field, including having an on-track battle with the reigning British champion, and eventually finished second, behind a driver in a World Championship specification machine.
On Monday, O’Donovan Jnr endured a number of problems, twice struggling to get away from the start line, but a strong result in the semi-finals lifted him to the second row for the final, lining up alongside father Ollie. But, a broken gear lever on the opening lap ended his challenge.
For Ollie O’Donovan and Team RX Racing’s brand-new Proton Iriz RX, developed as a collaboration between Mellors Elliot Motorsport and Tony Bardy Motorsport, it was a weekend of learning.
The team ran the car at the Kent circuit in the test and media day on Thursday, and O’Donovan raced in through the weekend, adjusting the car’s setup throughout, and coming home with a fifth and fourth place finish from the two rounds to open his 2022 account.
The next rounds of 5 Nations BRX take place at Pembrey, South Wales on May 14-15.
Patrick O’Donovan, Ford Fiesta, #13:
“The weekend was by far one of the most special of my career so far. Growing up and watching dad in Supercar has always left me dreaming that one day it could be me right there alongside him. To race against your father is a different kind of adrenaline rush, I think a lot of it comes down to the competition aspect and the fact that me and him have always been very competitive with each other from board games, to the simulator and now actually racing head-to-head, it’s truly amazing! To get a podium on my debut means the world to me, unfortunately we had some bad luck on Monday but that’s motor sport, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Hopefully we can come back even stronger at the next one.”
Ollie O’Donovan, Proton Iriz, #2:
“The overriding thing for me from the weekend at Lydden, over anything else, was Patrick’s performance in the final on Saturday. It was really special for the whole family that he delivered on his potential to climb through the field and finish on the podium. To be honest, I didn’t even know where I had finished because I was so happy and wrapped up in his achievement. But, he also needs to keep his feet on the ground, and Monday was an example of how hard rallycross can be. He will fight back though, and I can’t wait to see what else he can do this season. For me, we worked hard on the Proton Iriz RX throughout the weekend, and we came away with solid points. This is a new car so we can’t expect to win with it out of the box, especially with the limited amount of testing we were able to do pre-season, but we do have a lot of work to do, to get the car to where we know it can be.”