Mon 03 Apr 2023

Teenage talent O’Donovan set for full Euro RX1 season in ex-Hansen Peugeot

Patrick O’Donovan will contest the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier Euro RX1 category in 2023 behind the wheel of a Team RX Racing-run Peugeot 208 WRX, supported by #YellowSquad.

Patrick O’Donovan will contest the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier Euro RX1 category in 2023 behind the wheel of a Team RX Racing-run Peugeot 208 WRX, supported by #YellowSquad.

O’Donovan has been a familiar face on the FIA World Rallycross Championship scene over the past two seasons as a leading protagonist in the FIA RX2e Championship, placing fourth overall in both 2021 and 2022 and triumphing twice along the way.

The 18-year-old simultaneously became the youngest-ever British Rallycross Champion when he clinched the domestic crown in the final round last year, driving a car significantly older than some of his rivals and beating a host of former champions in his maiden campaign in the headlining ‘5 Nations BRX’ class.

O’Donovan also made an impressive one-off appearance in Euro RX1 in Hungary last May, securing fourth spot in the intermediate ranking on his debut in the series and winning his progression race in an ageing Ford Fiesta. He was on-course to advance to the final until a puncture at the semi-final stage dashed his hopes.

The rising British star will now return to Nyirád for the 2023 European Championship curtain-raiser at the end of this month (29/30 April). With Team RX Racing having acquired a latest-specification Supercar, built and raced by Hansen Motorsport in World RX until the end of 2021, the talented teenager is champing at the bit to get going.

“This is an absolute beast of a car, and it feels really good to be in a position where we can head into Euro RX with competitive equipment,” he enthused. “We really worked hard on assessing what to do this year, and I think this is a great step forward in my career. Ultimately, my goal is to be in the World Championship and hopefully fight for the title, so these years are all about gaining as much experience as possible – and I believe racing the 208 WRX in Euro RX1 will achieve just that.

“I know some of the circuits now from my time in RX2e, and I can’t wait to go racing. Going to the Hansen workshop last week was special, and while we’re running the car in our own team this year, we have a close relationship and it’s amazing to be aligned with #YellowSquad.”

#YellowSquad is the young driver programme run under the Hansen Motorsport umbrella, granting O’Donovan access to a wealth of experience and expertise. Team owner Kenneth Hansen is the most successful driver in rallycross history, with 14 European Championship titles to his credit, while Timmy Hansen is the 2019 World Rallycross Champion and younger brother Kevin the 2016 European Rallycross Champion as well as a multiple World RX event-winner.

A short shakedown with the 208 WRX near to the Hansen workshop in Sweden last week has left both sides bullish about their prospects for the season ahead.

“We did a lot of analysis regarding what to do with Patrick this year,” revealed Team RX Racing Team Principal, Ollie O’Donovan, who will similarly compete in Euro RX1 in 2023. “He learned a lot in RX2e and he was very impressive in the British Championship as we saw, so to progress in specification of Supercar is a logical way to go, to help him gain more experience. With this package, I believe we’re giving him the best opportunity we can and I hope he can do well with it.

“We’ve got to know the Hansen family better recently and I have a lot of faith in them and this programme. Walking into their workshop and seeing the results of their many years in this business was very impressive. And as a father, being on the grid with Patrick when he will be hopefully racing near the front this season will be very special for me too.”

“We’re really pleased to have Patrick in our line-up for 2023,” added #YellowSquad founder, Kevin Hansen. “He was one of the front-runners in RX2e last year and he’s the British Rallycross Champion in Supercar, so for sure he is one of the future stars of rallycross. At 18-years-old, he’s super-talented so we’re beyond excited that he has come into the #YellowSquad family.

“Team RX Racing will run his operations in one of our previous internal combustion engine Peugeot 208s, so we look forward to seeing how he gets on and we will support him throughout his campaign as a driver. Hopefully he can go for the European title – he has the talent and a good level of experience for his age and we know the 208 is a good car, so we hope he can find his feet in it and challenge for victories.”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM