Monday, May 27, 2024

Patrick O’Donovan becomes Extreme E Championship Driver for Island X Prix

2022 British Rallycross Champion Patrick O’Donovan has joined Extreme E as the male Championship Driver for this weekend’s Island X Prix, where he partners with the returning Tamara Molinaro.

As part of his duties, he will test the track in Sardinia for the series and provide input. If a male series regular is unable to race, he will take his place.

Although only nineteen years old, O’Donovan has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the rallycross ranks. In 2022, he became the youngest driver to win the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy while also claiming a pair of wins in the FIA World Rallycross Championship’s RX2e division at Riga and Spa en route to a fourth-place points finish.

For 2023, he is defending his British RX title and competing in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-flight RX1 class. O’Donovan leads the British championship after winning the first two races. In Euro RX, he recently scored his first win in Höljes to remain in contention as he now sits fourth and nine points behind the standings leader with two races left.

“It’s exciting to get the call up from Extreme E to be Championship Driver,” said O’Donovan. “It’s going to be something completely new to me, but I’ve seen how great the racing can be and I can’t wait to get in the car.

“The course in Sardinia will be a kind of terrain I haven’t experienced before, but that’s why I’m here: to learn and to give feedback where I can. I’m also looking forward to working with Tamara. She has a lot of experience in Extreme E, and I know she’ll be a huge help as I get to grips with the car and push myself to the limit in this new discipline. It’s going to be awesome.”

While Extreme E and rallycross have their differences, there is plenty of crossover between the two disciplines. 2021 and 2022 XE champions Johan Kristoffersson and Sébastien Loeb both compete in World RX’s RX1e category alongside Klara Andersson, Timo Scheider, and brothers Timmy and Kevin Hansen. The Hansens oversee O’Donovan’s ERX team #YellowSquad, and the team also fields an RX2e team for Timmy’s XE team-mate Catie Munnings. Kristoffersson’s partner Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, 2022 female champ Cristina Gutiérrez, and ACCIONA | Sainz driver Laia Sanz compete in RX2e as well. Sanz’s team-mate Mattias Ekström is the Sporting Director at World RX.

Molinaro has served as the female Championship Driver for all three rounds in 2023. Andreas Bakkerud, another rallycross star, did so for the opener in Saudi Arabia before joining JBXE for the rest of the year. 2022 Nitro Rallycross NEXT champion Tommi Hallman took his place for the Hydro X Prix in May.

Others Championship Drivers in the series’ history include Romain DumasChristine GZHedda Hosås, and Fraser McConnell.

“It is great to welcome Patrick into the paddock for the upcoming Island X Prix in Sardinia,” commented Chief Championship Officer James Taylor. “Patrick is an extremely talented young driver, with plenty of pedigree from his wheel-to-wheel racing exploits already, and we look forward to seeing him behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21 as a Championship Driver alongside Tamara at the next round.”