O’Donovan off to a winning start

Monday 08 July 2024

Rising rallycross star Patrick O’Donovan has wasted no time making his mark by winning the opening round of this year’s Euro RX1 at Höljes in Sweden.

The 20-year-old – a Team UK member of Motorsport UK’s Academy – is contesting his second full season in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top tier after finishing a fine third on debut in 2023.

Having achieved a sensational podium finish on his FIA World Rallycross Championship debut in Hong Kong last November, O’Donovan had considered stepping up a level but has opted instead to chase the fulfilment of a ‘childhood dream’ in RX1.

“I spent a lot of time over the winter break thinking about what the right decision would be in terms of race plans for 2024,” revealed the double British Rallycross Champion. “There was a lot of temptation to race in the World Championship after such a good weekend in Hong Kong. But, after a lot of thought I kept coming back to the same conclusion – it’s my childhood dream to win the European Rallycross Championship… and that’s unfinished business.”

With the start of this WRX season delayed, O’Donovan kept match fit by contesting a number of rallies. He made a victorious debut on the NHMC Cadwell Park Stages late last year and, more recently, reached the rostrum against more seasoned rivals on the Kielder Forest Rally.

“Rallying has certainly kept me sharp over the winter and has helped me to develop new skills,” he admitted. “Rallying has taught me to be very aware of not overdriving – to be neat and tidy as possible all the time. That certainly transfers when you get back into the rallycross car, when you have so much power that it’s hard to stay neat.”

All the preparation certainly paid dividends at Höljes. Back behind the wheel of his Hansen Motorsport-built Peugeot 208 WRX, fully rebuilt over the off-season by Sam Clennell Motorsport, O’Donovan was very much the man to beat in Sweden. He finished the opening day as the top qualifier and did not let up when the rains came on Sunday.

“We came here with one goal and we succeeded!” said a delighted Patrick who was also triumphed at the same venue in 2023. “One year ago I won my first-ever Euro RX1 race at Höljes – this weekend I have done it again!”

Fresh from that success, O’Donovan will make his Extreme E debut at the Hydro X Prix in Scotland this weekend, where he is standing in for LEGACY M.C. team owner Jimmie Johnson. His next Euro RX1 appearance comes later this month at Nyirád in Hungary (27-28 July).

Images courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool