British Rallycross

O’Donovan wins British Rallycross Round 2 At Lydden

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Ollie O’Donovan won round two of the 2017 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship and took the lead of the championship as a result.

Irishman O’Donovan, who won the BRX title back in 2007 won the second round of 2017 ahead of Warren Scott in second and Oliver Bennett in third.

Eight cars lined up for the final with the lead trio being joined by Steve Hill, Kevin Proctor, Julian Godfrey, Jake Harris and ‘Mad’ Mark Watson for the six-lap shootout.

After a strong start from the second row of the grid, Scott took the lead going into the first corner. However, contact going through the right hand turn ultimately gave the former BTCC race a puncture and the flapping bodywork on his LD Motorsports-prepared Citroen DS3 damaged the right-rear tire.

Despite the damage, Scott managed to stay ahead of the chasing pack, now lead by Godfrey after overtaking Proctor and the Team BMR boss would not use his joker lap until the final lap of the race.

O’Donovan meanwhile had made a slow start to the final, but after getting his joker out of the way early and by overtaking both Proctor and Bennett was able to chase down the leading duo. When both Scott and Godfrey dived for their jokers on the final lap, the 2007 champion took the lead with Scott re-joining in second.

Godfrey’s day was to turn to disaster as a move on Scott to get second failed and the Ford Fiesta driver was forced to retire with rear suspension damage.

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O’Donovan’s day had a mix of fortunes, as he also had broken suspension which caused him to miss the second heat of qualifying earlier in the day as a result. However, he was delighted with his victory. He said: “I made a slow start and did the joker quite early. I was counting the seconds to the boys ahead when I was going up the hill and in a lap I’d taken nearly eight seconds out of them, so I thought with a big push we had a chance. I think it was quite close coming out of the joker but I kept a nice tidy line and had better traction than them. We had some problems earlier in the day, that was driver error, but I think we made up for it later in the afternoon.”

Fourth in the Supercar category was Jake Harris in his DS3 with Kevin Proctor being the final classified finisher in fifth. Along with Godfrey, both Steve Harris, with a failed driveshaft before the race had even began and ‘Mad’ Mark Watson, who had clutch issues, were unclassified from the standings in the final.

Croft winner Nathan Heathcote had a day to forget as mechanical issues throughout the weekend meant that the round one victor was unable to qualify for the final and James Grint, who was set to debut the new Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage withdrew before the beginning of the day due to mechanical issues after testing earlier in the weekend.

In the MSA Supernational Rallycross Championship, Tristen Ovenden was just one lap away from taking the victory before tragedy struck and the suspension failed on his Renault Clio V6 and he ended up in a gravel trap with Paige Bellerby taking advantage and making it two wins from two events this season. Ovenden had dominated throughout the day being the quickest in all three qualifying heats and having also won the first semi-final in the class.

Bellerby was pleased with taking the win but realised how unlucky Ovenden was. She said: “This track is all about horsepower, the Clio goes exceptionally well here and Tristan drove amazingly today,” said Bellerby. “He really did deserve to win. We went round to get the points for second in the final but luck was in our favor. I’m absolutely over the moon. The aim is to get consistent results this year and so far so good.”

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Third in the class was Todd Crooks ahead of Gary Simpson in fourth with Michael Howlin completing the finishers of the final in fifth. Front runner in the championship Allan Taspscott retired with broken steering and was joined on the side-lines by Michael Labedz and defending Supernational champion Tony Lynch who for the second time in two events, was unable to compete due to engine problems.

Tom Llewllin made it six wins from six starts in MSA Junior Rallycross and took his second win of the season ahead of Morgan Wroot. Despite Llewlin ultimately going on to win, he didn’t have everything his own way and Tom Constantine took pole position for the final. However it was Llewlin who would go on to win with Wroot being chased closely by Constantine who would finish third.

Llewlin commented on his victory: ““It was a great day at Lydden, I really enjoyed the racing. It was really close with the other Juniors which made it really enjoyable.  I started on the back of the grid in Q1, then Tom (Constantine) was just too quick in Q2 but we managed to win Q3. I made a good start in the final but they were not far away. It’s always nice to win for sure.”

Fourth in class was Tom Middleton who finished ahead of Norwegian Ole Henry Steinsholt and Tom’s cousin James Constantine taking sixth.

The Swift Sport Rallycross Championship saw Simon Ovenden dominate and take the victory in the one make Suzuki Swift series and finish ahead of the impressive Morgan Bailey in second and Christoffer Lia in third.

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Fourth went to Don Macleod as championship front runner Rob Maynard and round one winner Chris Woollett both spun in the final and would finish behind the leading pack as a result.

Paul Coney continued where he left off at Croft and won the Super1600/BMW Mini/Hot Hatch combined championship category marginally ahead of Darren Scott with Martin Hawkes in third – Hawkes being the best Mini finisher.  Scott finished just half a second behind the winner Coney in a close battle for the win.

Bradley Durdin was second in the Mini runners ahead of Drew Bellerby while Tomasz Marciniak was the highest finisher in the Hot Hatch class.

A new winner was seen in the RX150 buggy championship as Chrissy Palmer retired from the final after colliding with eventual winner John Ward. Ward finished ahead of Brett Hattis and Stephen Jones in third.

Finally, in the Retro Rallycross Championship, Barry Stewart took his Porsche 911 to the top step of the podium after a battle with defending champion Ray Morgan in his Ford Escort. Lance Foster took the win in his Mini Clubman in the ‘Retro’ class of the championship ahead of Stewart Bowes and Paul Smith.

Round three of the 2017 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship takes place at Pembrey on June 25.

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