British Rallycross

Patrick O’Donovan challenges the French to close in on Thorne’s championship lead

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Two action-packed days of racing alongside Rallycross France’s finale in Dreux saw a familiar name at the top. Patrick O’Donovan held the position of the best British contender for the second year in a row, with Jack Thorne maintaining his bid for the British title in the runner-up spot.

The high-calibre French Supercars proved to be a worthy challenge for the travelling vehicles. O’Donovan emerged as the foremost British driver in every session. Overall, this placed him in the fourth position and a front-row slot for his semi-final. His closest challenger, Thorne, encountered difficulties in traffic on day one. He was positioned only nineteenth overnight, but a seventh-place finish in Q3 propelled him up the order. A strong start in Q4 saw him leading O’Donovan on lap one but was hindered when Mats Öhman exited the joker lap. Thorne finished fourteenth overall but collided with a slowing Öhman at the finish, ending up in the gravel.

Despite the challenges, Thorne qualified for the semi-finals in the fifteenth place, guaranteeing him a top-two finish in pursuit of his British Rallycross Championship challenge. O’Donovan secured a third-place finish to progress to the final. In the final, he secured a podium after a robust recovery drive behind Yuri Belevskiy and Julien Febreau. Meanwhile, Thorne could only manage the sixth place after a race-long battle. This result still keeps him in control of the championship, as the Devon racer needs to finish in the runner-up position in the remaining rounds at Lydden, behind Patrick O’Donovan, to seal the title by a single point.

Jack Thorne battles in Qualifying – Callum House Photography

Behind the championship duo, Ollie O’Donovan was the best of the rest. He made good starts throughout the weekend, but it wasn’t enough to secure a transfer spot. This left him in the twenty-first place in the intermediate classification. Tristan Ovenden’s title hopes suffered a setback after a troublesome start to the weekend. In Q2, he spun out while avoiding a jokering French car. The team bounced back on Sunday and set a consistent pace, placing him twenty-fourth overall. Mike Sellar secured another top-five finish in the British series. Despite setbacks on Saturday that resulted in slow starts in Q1 and Q2, it was an enjoyable weekend for the team. This finish promoted him to the seventh position in the standings.

The field will reconvene in three weeks’ time at Lydden Hill for a double-header weekend. The Saturday 4 November final will take place under the lights before another day of racing on Sunday. While four drivers have a mathematical chance of taking the title, it will likely come down to Patrick O’Donovan and Jack Thorne. If Thorne finishes in the runner-up position behind O’Donovan in the remaining rounds, he will clinch his first Supercar crown by a single point. A large entry list is expected, with multiple race winners taking to the track, which should add to the action across the weekend.

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I've been watching motorsport for over a decade and rallycross since 2014. I love to get up close to the action and rallycross paddocks such a friendly place to be in. If you're ever at a British RX event you'll see me trackside with a camera or with a microphone out interviewing drivers. Always happy to chat even if I don't have much time. He/Him.
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