Ollie O’Donovan embarks on British and European campaign with updated Proton Iriz RX
Former British Rallycross Champion and European Rallycross Championship podium-finisher Ollie O’Donovan will double-up to contest a mixed FIA European Rallycross Championship and Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy campaign in 2023.
The 2007 British RX title-winner will revert to Team RX Racing’s Proton Iriz RX Supercar – the first of its type in the world – for the upcoming season and will get his campaign underway with the opening rounds of 5 Nations BRX at Lydden Hill, Kent on April 8 & 10.
O’Donovan debuted the car at the same event last year, ultimately racing it in two British and two European weekends. However, technical problems with the Iriz RX curtailed his effort with the machine, the Irishman withdrawing from European competition and reverting to his squad’s Ford Focus to conclude the domestic campaign, where he continued to feature on the podium.
Now, following several months work back in the workshop, and an outing with 2022 5 Nations BRX Champion Patrick O’Donovan in the opening rounds of the Irish Rallycross Championship at Mondello Park that culminated in a maiden victory for the Iriz RX, O’Donovan Snr – a Euro RX podium finisher in Spain in 2017 – will return to the unique car for the dual programme.
To stay sharp over the winter months, O’Donovan has been competing in circuit-based rallies in the UK, driving a Hyundai i20 R5 with the Albatec Racing team and achieved a number of podiums. He will continue that programme this weekend at Cadwell Park, before returning to the rallycross arena.
While 5 Nations BRX is run over 10 rounds at Lydden Hill, Mondello Park (Ireland) Pembrey (Wales) and Dreux (France), the European Rallycross Championship takes place over six weekends, beginning in Hungary where O’Donovan first drove the Iriz on the international stage last year, before supporting the FIA World Rallycross Championship at events in Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Germany.
“Last year didn’t go as planned with the Proton, far from it, but the team has worked hard to resolve the problems that we encountered, and Patrick had a strong showing in the Irish Championship with the car recently, so I’m very much looking forward to getting back in it. I haven’t driven the car properly since Holjes (Sweden) last July, and we will only get chance for a quick shakedown before Lydden, but I’m keen to get going. I’ve really enjoyed doing the rallies that I’ve done over the winter, hopefully they have helped me stay sharp ahead of the rallycross campaign. Both 5 Nations BRX and Euro RX will be very competitive this year, with a number of talented, young and fast drivers in proven machinery, but I want to get the best results I can, both for myself and to repay the effort that has gone into getting this car to a place we believe it should be.”