It was a weekend to forget for SuperNational driver Tristan Ovenden, from Canterbury. The former motocross rider entered the second round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship last Monday, 17 April, at his home circuit of Lydden Hill, after his team worked hard to solve the cooling problems of his V6-powered Renault Clio, that forced him to miss out on the first round, last month at Croft in Yorkshire.
Despite the wet conditions, Ovenden went on to set the fastest time in the first qualifying session by a margin of two seconds, a feat he repeated in all of the following qualifying sessions. In his semifinal it was business as usual, as Tristan brought his car home half a lap ahead of the rest of the field.
A well-deserved pole position in the final helped Ovenden win the drag race from the starting line to the first loose section, where he started working to pull away from the rest of the field. Disaster eventually struck on the penultimate lap, when the rear off-side suspension broke, sending him into the gravel trap at the Devil’s Elbow corner, prompting an immediate retirement and leaving Tristan wondering what could have been. His efforts, however, were not to be unrewarded as he was awarded the driver of the day, in recognition of his results in qualifying.
It was a very good performance from the team all round, Ovenden says. We had great support this weekend and came so close to a clean sweep! The speed from the car has got better and better, we just need to get a hold on the reliability. Which we can put down to inexperience with this car really. We haven’t identified all the areas that we need to check and work on and the only way to find out is to race. So we’ll address this issue and hope for better luck next time.”
It is quite a long wait until the next round of the series, 25 June at the Pembrey circuit in Carmarthenshire, Wales.