British Rallycross: Patrick wins in Wales amid semi-final drama

Patrick O’Donovan overcame an issue in Qualifying to dominate the afternoon and take his 4th victory of the year. Semi-final one saw confusion after a red flag that left the grid for the final mixed up.

In the final it was the O’Donovan father and son pair that made the best start from the front row. Ollie came across a slow start Steve Hill to give Patrick the best line through the opening sequence. Returning champion Nathan Heathcote got up to third place after the opening corners having started fourth ahead of Tristan Ovenden, Julian Godfrey, Mike Sellar and Bradley Westgarth. Hill dropped down to last after being hit from behind by Ovenden. For his part in the incident the Kent driver broke an intercooler pipe which gave no boost to his Citroen DS3 .

Godfrey was first to joker and set about closing back in on the pack. Heathcote was able to get passed O’Donovan senior was the Ford Focus driver’s front left completely flat. Godfrey had a much harder time finding a way through and spent half the race stuck behind the ailing car. Eventually a late race joker for Ollie gave Godfrey clear air by which point there was a train of cars. Sellar, Hill and Westgarth were line astern and stayed in that order to the finish.

Out front Patrick was driving a clean race and had a clear gap to Heathcote. The leader jokered first and looked to conserve the car. However, with Heathcote still driving at ten tenths he closed in and came out of the joker lap right behind. The top two stayed as they were but in the chasing pack the action heated up. Coming onto the final lap Sellar’s car was spitting flames under the car. With the flag in sight he finished the race securing 4th place, his best finish since his return to the championship. He pulled over and the car was quickly put out by the marshals.

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Mike Sellar “Joe, my spotter said the car’s on fire you need to pull over. I looked at the ground and I could see flames but I also saw a checkered flag a quarter of a lap away. I made the flag and drove to the fire point where they quickly put it out.”

Patrick O’Donovan won round 7 at the Pembrey circuit, 3 months after his first Supercar victory at this very track. Heathcote came home second ahead of Godfrey, Sellar, Hill, Westgarth, O’Donovan and Ovenden. Fourth through sixth all received a penalty for hitting cones separating the joker lap but this didn’t affect the finishing order.

Patrick O’Donovan “I didn’t have a good day leading up to the final. When [Heathcote] went into the joker I had a gap so Sam [my spotter] told me not to push. I pulled back a little bit and he caught up a little bit too much so I had to start defending.”


The first Semi-final was red flagged after Derek Tohill’s car was limping around the lap. At the start the reigning champion took the lead but suffered a rear left puncture immediately. He was quickly passed by Godfrey and Westgarth before the whole wheel started to drag on the tarmac with sparks flying. After not pulling off the race was halted to prevent any damage to the track.

All the remaining cars pulled into the paddock, not parc ferme. It meant every driver was not allowed to restart the race, instead being credited with a DNF. Initially it looked like every driver would be disqualified but the penalty was quickly dropped. Godfrey lead the entire race ahead of Ovenden with Sellar beating Westgarth.

The other semi-final saw action at the start. Second place Hill went around the outside of poleman Patrick O’Donovan and took the inside line. O’Donovan senior and Heathcote quickly followed through as Patrick was fired across the grass and into the joker lap. Heathcote had also jokered to maintain 3rd.

Ollie O’Donovan pressured Hill out front. After being unable to pass for 2 laps the second place man dived to the joker lap coming out alongside Patrick. Instead the young driver went on the attack and dived up the inside of Heathcote into turn 1. Ollie forced a gap as well, sending himself and Heathcote wide as he took third place.

Hill jokered on the final lap by which point Patrick had closed in to secure the win and a front row start for the final. Ollie kept third with Heathcote driving past him after the checkered flag.

Nathan Heathcote “I was feeling good. I was under a lot of pressure from Patrick and he managed to get past which opened the door for Ollie. He barged his way through but that’s racing. Nice to be battling.”

After all cars in Semi-final 1 were credited as DNF they were placed to the back of the grid of the final. Patrick took pole from Hill, Ollie and Heathcote. Ovenden was credited with 5th despite Godfrey beating him in their race. Sellar was seventh and Westgarth the last qualifier.

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport


Tristan Ovenden topped qualifying on day 1 for the second weekend in a row. He went second quickest in Q1 before benefiting from others misfortune to steal the win in Q2. Patrick won Q1 after passing Ovenden but suffered a drive shaft failure in Q2 that dropped him down the order. He managed to finish which secured him second overall.

Godfrey overcame a gearbox issue in Q1 to go third ahead of Hill. The 71 year-old was just 2 tenths away from winning Q2 which would have seen him qualify second. Tohill was slowed by damage in Q2 after contact at the start. He stayed ahead of O’Donovan in the intermediate standings who pushed Tohill wide at the start of the second round of heats. Sellar, Heathcote and Westgarth rounded out the field. Heathcote, having never sat in the car before today looked like he was set to win qualifying 2 and jump up the leader board before spinning just before the joker merge.

Roger Thomas withdrew from the round after a clutch failure in the opening session. The team spent all day sourcing a replacement clutch slave cylinder and look set to race tomorrow.


Patrick O’Donovan has extended his championship at the top of the table to 12 over Godfrey. Adjusted for drop score this becomes 16. Ovenden is a further 14 back just ahead of both Tohill and Ollie O’Donovan. Racing continues tomorrow but using the reverse layout of the Pembrey track. Ben Hardy became the first champion of the season after securing the RX150 title with 2 rounds to spare.

Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

Feature Image Credit: Overtake Motorsport

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