Former British Rallycross Champion and FIA European Rallycross Championship podium-finisher Ollie O’Donovan will be behind the wheel of a brand new car in 2022, after committing to a full campaign of Euro RX1 competition in a Team RX Racing Proton Iriz RX.
O’Donovan reached the rostrum in Euro RX at Catalunya in 2017, and contested selected FIA World Rallycross Championship events last year in a Ford Fiesta. For the forthcoming season, he has traded the Fiesta for a car that is new to the dual-surface discipline, but one that has already established a strong pedigree in rallying and that he is confident represents ‘a significant step up from where we were’.
The project is a collaboration between respected rallycross preparation firm Tony Bardy Motorsport (TBM) and renowned Proton Motorsport rally specialist Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM), who constructed the car in its workshop.
Built specifically for use in rallycross from a fresh bodyshell, the Iriz RX shares its platform with MEM’s highly-regarded Iriz R5 (now Rally2) car, which has gone on to win multiple national rallies since its public introduction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed five years ago.
The car has undergone a successful shakedown test at Pembrey in the UK, with O’Donovan set to join the fray for the fast-approaching Euro RX1 curtain-raiser at Nyirád in Hungary.
“Seeing the Iriz RX drive out of the trailer for the first time recently was a big moment for myself and the team,” enthused the 2007 British title-winner. “Then to get in and for it to fit me like a glove was a special feeling. There has been a huge amount of hard work go into this project, and it was brilliant to conduct the initial testing.
“The Iriz RX already feels like a significant step up from where we were, and in the first shakedown test we were far from its full potential. We have work to do before the opening rounds, but we have another couple of tests planned and I’m very excited to get the season underway. To return to the European Championship has been a key goal for this project, and I can’t wait to give the Iriz RX its international debut at Nyirád next month.”
“Ollie wanted a car nobody else had, and in R5 form, the Iriz has won many rallies,” added Tony Bardy Motorsport Owner and Team RX Racing Chief Engineer, Tony Bardy. “That’s why we went in this direction.
“The car shares its base with the R5 Iriz, but a lot of it is unique too. The concept has taken longer to adapt for rallycross than all involved first thought it might, but having run the Proton through its first test, the speed is there. The car has a lot of grip, and there is more potential to unleash yet. We’re all looking forward to the first event!”