Team RX Racing driver Ollie O’Donovan managed to secure eight place in the 2015 FIA European Rallycross Drivers Championship despite a spectacular incident at the final round, held at the Franciacorta International Circuit in Italy.
Having used his older Ford Focus Supercar for the British Rallycross Championship Finale at Croft, the London-based -Irishman elected to save his newer Tony Bardy Motorsport Ford Fiesta Supercar for the EuroRX Finale where he was in a fight for points against Fabien and Jonathan Pailler in their Pailler Competition Peugeots.
After finishing fifth in Norway and fourth in Spain, the 2007 British Rallycross Champion was looking to go one better and take a podium finish in his final EuroRX event of the year. However, events during the weekend took a different turn…
The Irish Rallycross pilot began to get up to speed and finished Heat One in 23rd place overall and ninth amongst the EuroRX drivers. However in Heat two, during a heated battle with Eklund Motorsports’ Joni-Pekka Rajala in his Saab 93 Supercar, the two cars made contact over the infamous jump and O’Donovan had nowhere left to go on landing. The Fiesta clipped a kerb and then proceeded into a roll, causing significant damage after coming to rest and leaving the team with a lot of work to have the car ready for Heat Three the following day.
O’Donovan explains the incident further: “We had an interesting first day. I didn’t have such a great time in the first heat; I could have been quicker. I felt I was really on the pace in heat two, Joni-Pekka opened the gap and I had to try and pass him.
“Over the jump we touched a bit and that sent me to the right. The kerb there was unforgiving and I had nowhere to go. I was having a go and ran out of talent, that’s all I can say really. I was a bit stiff and sore on Saturday night I have to say.”
With help from several other teams in the WorldRX and EuroRX paddock, including SDRX, Ford OlsbergsMSE, Eklund Motorsport and Albatec Racing, the Fiesta was repaired and ready to return to action for the final days activities.
O’Donovan began well by finishing fourth fastest in Heat Three amongst the EuroRX drivers, however whilst fighting for the lead of his race in Heat Four, contact saw the Fiesta fired off into a wall and more damage to the rear of the car counting the Irishman out of the Semi-Finals.
O’Donovan was happy with his seasons work as he reflected back on the year: “We were in the top four of the European boys in heat three, so the times were there. The crash wasn’t Peter Hedstrom’s fault, and it’s a real shame we didn’t get into the semi-finals. It was just a little tap that put me in the wall, but I knew it was over from there.
“To finish eight in the championship is very good and more than we could have expected. It is a bit disappointing because we could have finished even higher with a good result this weekend, but we were just unlucky. The boys worked so hard to fix the car, they had about 40 minutes sleep, so massive thanks to them. Chassis wise the car is ok and running wise she’s very good, so I’m sure Tony Bardy will get her sorted over the winter ready for next year.
“At the start of this season we couldn’t get near the semi-finals, so to have been in the final twice is a really good achievement. I think next year we can fight for top five in the championship.”