Ollie O’Donovan narrowly misses out on ERX semi-finals in Norway

by Tommaso Zurli

Former MSA British Rallycross champion and Team RX Racing owner, Ollie O’Donovan, took part in last weekend’s round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercars at the Lankebanen in Hell, Norway, hoping to replicate the podium finish he achieved last April at the opening round in Barcelona, his best performance at international level so far. The Norwegian event, however, did not develop according to plan, as O’Donovan finished no better than thirteenth overall, thus just about missing out on the semi-finals.

The Lankebanen has thus far provided Team RX Racing with respectable results: despite that, O’Donovan entered this year’s Q1 under Saturday’s torrential rain, and problems quickly struck him. A jump start handed him with a double joker lap as a penalty, then, in the same race, he spun as a consequence of a puncture, setting the 29th time out of thirty-three competitors in the EuroRX Supercar grid. The weather hadn’t improved for the following qualifier, even though it didn’t stop the Irishman from being fifth fastest in Q2, improving his intermediate classification to seventeenth overnight.

On Sunday, his seventh-fastest time in Q3 looked promising, but only qualifying sixteenth in the last of four rounds placed him thirteenth overall, just one position shy of the semis.

“The whole weekend was lost in Q1, O’Donovan reckons.

“The jump start, contact with another car, puncture and a spin really put us on the back foot. In Q2 we were lucky with the track conditions, but we showed we have genuine good pace in Q3, then in Q4 we got held up a bit in traffic. I made a bit of a mistake and got held up into the entry to the joker, which cost us enough time not to make the semi-finals.”

The points scored mean the London-based Irishman is now seventh in the championship standings.

“We’re very happy even though we’re a bit disappointed not to be in the semi-finals.

“If we can be consistently in the top seven or eight, which is where our lap times tell us we should be, I’m very happy with that. There are some big teams in the Championship and a lot of young lads who are in cars all the time.”

O’Donovan and RX Racing are now returning to the UK, where they will switch to the older Ford Focus Supercar to compete in round three of the British Championship in Pembrey, Wales.

“I want to win at Pembrey, we need to get as many points in the bag as we can but we’ve had good pace in the first two events so it’s possible for sure, the Irishman says, hoping to maintain his current points lead in the national series.”

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