Thu 18 Jan 2024

Top Ten Drivers of the Year: Patrick O’Donovan (2nd)

It’s time to reveal the driver you selected as runner-up in our top ten countdown from 2023 – a rapidly-rising star on the international rallycross scene...

Patrick O’Donovan’s form in the FIA European Rallycross Championship last season was not exactly a surprise. He entered the campaign as the reigning British Champion, and in his sole previous Euro RX1 appearance in Hungary 11 months earlier, he had placed fourth in the intermediate ranking, only being denied a spot in the final by a puncture. But still, the manner in which the teenager took the fight to his more experienced rivals in 2023 was impressive indeed.

A podium finish in the Nyirád curtain-raiser – making amends for the previous year – was followed by a similarly strong performance that yielded fifth place in Portugal. O’Donovan repeated the result in round three in Norway, but that did not tell the full story of a tumultuous weekend during which he and Anton Marklund twice clashed swords as the Brit proved that he is no respecter of reputations.

A fortnight later at Höljes – the legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ – he delivered his finest display to-date. A lowly 16th at the end of a torrid first day, the Team RX Racing ace hauled his Peugeot 208 onto the back row for the first of the two semi-finals and then again for the final. Conventional wisdom says you can’t win in rallycross from the rear of the grid – but Patrick O’Donovan is no respecter of conventional wisdom either.

Exiting Turn Two, he was already up to second, and heading down the hill next time around, he battled his way into the lead. He would not look back, speeding clear to secure a sensational maiden victory at European level. He was quick again at Mettet, and the runner-up spoils at Germany’s Estering enabled him to pip Enzo Ide to third in the overall standings on countback.

The Londoner reinforced his status as one of the sport’s top young talents by reaching the rostrum on his subsequent FIA World Rallycross Championship bow in Hong Kong. Only 19 still, the sky looks to be the limit for this rising star...

2023 Stats

Euro RX Starts:
Wins: 1
Podiums: 3
Finals Reached: 5
Best Result: 1st
Points: 76
Championship Position: 3rd

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM