Reigning champion Patrick O’Donovan was the class of the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy all day. However, a gearbox failure in his Semi-Final put him on the back row of the final at Lydden Hill.
The GB1 car lined up seventh on the grid for the final. From there O’Donovan worked his way to fourth by the Devil’s Elbow. Leading the pack was the front row sitting trio of Jack Thorne, Ollie O’Donovan and Viktor Vrantx. Vrantx in his RX2e machinery could do nothing to stop the now Hansen Peugeot 208 equipped O’Donovan Jnr and Patrick flew past going up the hill to take third.
Julian Godfrey had looked to take fifth after a sensational start. However, after contact his engine cut out sending him tumbling down the order. Instead, Roberts Vitols on his return to the championship was fifth closely followed by Tristan Ovenden. On the second tour Ollie let his son by. Over the following two laps Patrick put pressure on Thorne but the leader defended hard to keep first. O’Donovan Jnr jokered on lap four and Thorne responded the following lap. The GB1 car claimed the lead and held it all the way to the line to claim his eighth Supercar victory. O’Donovan said, “Just chasing down Jack was not an easy job. He’s a good driver. He made a few mistakes and we were able to real him in. It was close coming out of the joker.”
Vrantx was able to take third place after a close fight with O’Donovan Snr. Now in a fully working Proton Iriz, O’Donovan was sitting third but the pair made contact as Vrankx exited the joker lap. It sent O’Donovan wide and let Vitols ahead into fourth which became their finishing position. Ovenden had a quiet race into sixth while Godfrey overcame a misfire that had plagued his whole day to take seventh. Steve Harris, the other driver giving electric power its BRX debut came home eighth and last.
Due to the large field, many missed out on the final. In a chaotic Semi-Final 1 Mike Sellar spun off after light contact with Harris. Michael Boak on his Supercar debut failed to start when his clutch failed, causing two jump starts. Both of these meant when Patrick O’Donovan retired he still qualified for the Final. Roger Thomas was a distant fifth in his Semi-Final after having to pass a fast-starting Colin Anson. It was worse for Steve Hill who broke his engine after a hard landing in Q1. Dom Flitney’s fuel pump failed in practice. The team was able to change them in time for the Semi-Final but having not started a qualifying session weren’t allowed in.
Racing continues with round two on Monday. Oliver Bennett will race having been unavailable to race today. Harris will let his son Jake Harris race the electric Mini while Hill looks set to replace to engine during the day off tomorrow. It will mean fifteen Supercars racing, the largest field in almost a decade.