O’Donovan dominates at Pembrey to take British RX championship lead

Former MSA British Rallycross Champion Ollie O’Donovan dominated the finals in rounds four and five of the 2018 series at Pembrey Circuit in South Wales to move into the lead of the championship [June 24].

Driving Team RX Racing’s Tony Bardy Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus Supercar, adorned in a fresh yellow livery as a nod to the team’s title-winning 2007 season, O’Donovan twice took the lead at the first corner of the finals to score a pair of victories and make it a British RX hat trick, having also won round three at Croft Circuit a month earlier.

Qualifying third on the grid for round four on Saturday, O’Donovan didn’t make the perfect getaway as the lights went green but switched to the inside of the Welsh circuit and snuck up the inside of Julian Godfrey and Mark Higgins to take the lead and never looked back on his way to winning his second round of the season and in the process took the points lead.

Second fastest throughout the second day at Pembrey for round five, with the circuit being run in the opposite (anti-clockwise) direction, O’Donovan used new tyres and lightning-quick reactions to make the best start in the final to lead on lap one from three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins.

With Higgins having taken his joker on lap two, O’Donovan responded by taking his extra route on lap three, guided by spotter Tony Bardy, and remained ahead of Higgins to win the race when Julian Godfrey later took his joker.

“What a brilliant weekend. The car looks fantastic in the new ‘old’ livery and it performed brilliantly. I’m really happy with the results, we didn’t make pole in either round and I sat on the line both times thinking it was a bit of a long shot, but we managed to take the lead and control the races. I’m delighted,” said O’Donovan.

The second win in two days, which was celebrated with a number of donuts in the 600 horsepower, four-wheel drive Supercar, extended O’Donovan’s lead in the points with four rounds remaining.

“Mark was all over me on Sunday but I had Tony Bardy in my ear on the radio and we defended on the loose to make sure we had a good run for the tarmac, where we knew he would be quicker than me,” continued the Irishman. “The Focus is still a good car, we’re in front in the points now and we will have to work hard to protect that in the coming rounds. Our focus won’t change, we need to stay consistent but we won last time at Croft so going back there for the next round we know we can challenge at the front again.”

Making his second ever start in the MSA Junior Rallycross Championship, Patrick O’Donovan battled in the strong field and finished the single-make Suzuki Swift final sixth in round four. Round five was a character-building event for the 14-year old however, as clutch failure in Q1 forced him to retire at the first corner and then miss Q2 while the car was repaired. Needing to set a time in Q3 to qualify for the semi-finals, O’Donovan Jnr was taken out at the second corner by another competitor, breaking the cars suspension and putting him out of the event.

2018 MSA British Rallycross Championship Round Four, Pembrey, Result:

1 Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Focus)
2 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo)
3 Roger Thomas (Ford Focus)
4 Julian Godfrey (Mitsubishi Mirage)
5 Mark Higgins (Peugeot 208)
6 Liam Manning (Subaru Impreza)

2018 MSA British Rallycross Championship Round Five, Pembrey, Result:

1 Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Focus)
2 Mark Higgins (Peugeot 208)
3 Julian Godfrey (Mitsubishi Mirage)
4 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo)
5 Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta)
6 Roger Thomas (Ford Focus)

2018 MSA British Rallycross Championship Standings:

1 Ollie O’Donovan 134
2 Mark Higgins 128
3 Julian Godfrey 124
4 Steve Hill 116
5 Roger Thomas 85
6 Mad Mark 55
7 Kevin Procter 55
8 Steve Mundy 32

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