Fri 10 Nov 2023

Nerves? Not really, says O’Donovan as he unveils Hong Kong livery

Patrick O’Donovan has shrugged off any notion of nerves as he prepares to make his World RX debut in Hong Kong this weekend...

Patrick O’Donovan has shrugged off any notion of nerves as he prepares to make his FIA World Rallycross Championship debut with Hansen World RX Team in Hong Kong this weekend (11-12 November), instead expressing his excitement at the opportunity ahead.

O’Donovan goes into the event fresh off the back of clinching a second domestic crown in the British Rallycross Championship. He also finished third in his first full campaign in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top tier this year – winning at Höljes along the way – but Hong Kong will mark his big break as he takes on the discipline’s crème de la crème for the first time. It is a challenge he is relishing.

“I’m excited,” the former FIA RX2e Championship event-winner enthused. “I've had a few people ask me if I’m nervous but to be honest, not really. It’s a car that I know, and it’s a track that nobody knows. In fact, it’s the most level playing field that I could possibly ask for.

“There are obviously some very quick drivers in the field. I grew up watching the likes of Kevin [Hansen], Timmy [Hansen] and Johan [Kristoffersson] battling. They’ve been competing since I was eight or nine-years-old and just charging around the paddock on a scooter. They were my childhood heroes, and it’s pretty incredible to get the chance to be out there on-track not only racing them, but hopefully giving them a challenge.

“It’s also very cool to be part of one of the most prestigious teams in rallycross and to learn from a team like that and be inside that environment. That said, I’m obviously not expecting to go in there and just crack open some champagne. I’m expecting it to be super tough and I have no idea where my pace is going to be, but to be honest, that’s part of why I’m doing this. I want to see how I match up against some of the very best drivers in the world.”

O’Donovan certainly has plenty of prior experience of the ZEROID X1 that all drivers will be piloting in Hong Kong, having raced the car for two years in RX2e – triumphing twice along the way. He is eager now to put the all-electric beast through its paces around the first city-centre circuit in World RX history.

“Coming back to a car that I’ve spent two years in, I feel pretty comfortable,” the 19-year-old Brit affirmed. “It might take a little while to get back into it and I’m probably going to pull the handbrake a few times thinking I’m changing gears with muscle memory off the start-line, but I’m looking forward to it.

“I think the track will be pretty cool, and it will pull people in that are around in the area and hopefully spark an interest in rallycross in Hong Kong. To be honest, for me, this is a childhood dream. I’ve only been racing for four or five years, but this is something I’ve been working towards all that time...”

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