O’Donovan, Doran and Tohill win as electric rallycross causes stir

by Hal Ridge |

Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Fiesta) won the final round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship at Croft to climb to second in the overall standings, as Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta) fought back from transmission problems early in the event to finished second and Pat Doran (Citroen C4) finished third. In the third attempt at starting the final, O’Donovan took the lead at the first corner and led throughout the race, despite the power steering on his Fiesta failing before the start. 2016 champion Dan Rooke (Citroen DS3) failed to make the final, he retired before Q3 with engine problems.


Tony Lynch (Ford KA) won the Supernational final to secure the championship title as Guy Corner (Peugeot 206) and Allan Tapscott (Vauxhall Corsa) completed the podium. Nathan Heathcote won the Swift Sport final and claimed the category crown, while Sam Jones finished fourth in the Junior final, but with Tom Llewellin scoring his fourth victory, Jones won the championship ahead of Tom Constantine. Michael Boak (Citroen DS3) scored his maiden Super1600 victory at his home event as Paul Coney (Vauxhall Corsa) won the title, and Chrissy Palmer won his eighth successive RX150 final. Martin Hawkes scored his first BMW Mini victory as Kris Hudson won the title. Michael Labedz (Citroen Saxo) won the Hot Hatch final.


The day following the British RX finale, the standalone MSA British Rallycross Grand Prix took place at Croft, where Liam Doran (Citroen DS3) overcame driveline issues to lead the final from lights to flag, ahead of LD Motorsports team mate Rooke. Doran had set fastest time in Q2 and Q3, but it had been Rooke who earned pole position through consistency in the qualifying stages. Julian Godfrey completed the podium. Michael Boak followed up on victory in the Super1600 category on Saturday by running at top two-wheel drive car for most of the day on Sunday and making it into the Grand Prix final. He was classified ninth. Tom Middleton won the Grand Prix Junior final, Kirk Langley scored victory in the RX150 final and Mark Flaherty (MG Metro 6R4) won the Retro Rallycross final while Ray Morgan won the championship.


European Championship racer Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta) dominated the penultimate round of the Irish Rallycross Championship at Mondello Park, winning all three heats, the Supercar final and Superfinal by a considerable margin. Thomas O’Rafferty (Ford Fiesta) finished second to Tohill almost every time the Supercar field hit the circuit, except for the Supercar final, where Noel Greene (Mitsubishi Mirage) finished second, before coming home third in the Superfinal. Reigning IRX champion Willie Coyne (Opel Corsa) finished fourth in the Modified A final to Pearse Browne (BMW Compact), Lloyd Spendlove (Lotus Exige) and Patrick Ryan (Vauxhall Nova) but was best of the two-wheel drive runners in the Superfinal. Ryan, Spendlove, Christopher Grimes (Vauxhall Nova) and Brown completed the list of finishers. Derek Lenehan (Peugeot 106) won the Stockhatch 16v final, only just ahead of Paul Nolan (Peugeot 106) and Eugene Ward (Peugeot 106), while Dan Dowling (Peugeot 205) won the Stockhatch 8v A final. Patrick Donoghue (Peugeot 205) won the Rally Car A final, Morgan Quinn (Nissan Micra) won the Junior final, Dan McDonnell (Ford Fiesta) was victorious in the Fiesta A final and Terry McKay claimed the buggy final.


STARD, a research and development company owned by Manfred Stohl’s Stohl Group has launched the first ever electric rallycross car. Having worked on the concept for around seven years, STARD has created a car with the equivalent of 544 horsepower and 760nm torque, can run for 15 minutes at maximum power and can reach 90% of its maximum torque in 0.040s. STARD has new developments in the pipe-line for the four-wheel drive machine and is currently in talks with third parties about the project. “Of course I was sceptical at the beginning when my engineers told me to forget all I knew about a race car’s power delivery. You can’t put it into words – the immediate and continuous torque, without even the smallest ditch from nothing to 195 kph makes you feel like you’re on a giant rubber slingshot to space,” said Stohl, who has been conducing test drive duties. “As there is not the slightest torque gap, you even catch yourself holding the breath during acceleration, waiting for that shift which never happens.”


Just days after STOHL officially announced its concept, the American-based Global Rallycross Championship announced that it plans to run an electric category in the series in 2018, in addition to existing Lites and Supercar classes, but no further details were confirmed.

We are deeply saddened to record the death last Sunday (October 23) of Philippe Chanoine. An accomplished and successful rallycross driver, Chanoine was among a select group of French drivers who ventured outside of the successful national championship to take in events of the European Championship. Business interests – the family Renault dealership is more than a century old – dictated that he always raced Renault cars. When he stopped competing regularly in his own right, Chanoine continued to enter cars and ran drivers like Christophe Vaison, David Meslier and Jerome Grosset-Janin, before his son Fabien proved to be an event winner. This in itself would mark Chanoine out as a remarkable individual, but his passion for rallycross ran much deeper than this and he was instrumental in the creation of the Dacia Logan and, later, the Renault Twingo R1 cup series within the French Championship. The development of the new rallycross at his home town of Dreux also owed much to Chanoine’s drive and enthusiasm and he was more recently involved in the establishment of the track at Pont de Ruan. Chanoine was also a complete gentleman who, at just 60-years, would doubtless have continued to add to his achievements.


Chanoine, Bergerac, 1992

Austrian event organiser Karl Staudinger died on October 12 aged 61, he had been ill for a few years. A banker by profession, Staudinger was part of the organising team at Melk. He also became the last president of the European Rallycross Association, having previously been secretary of the organisation.


German racer Jurgen Klaenhardt died on October 22, he was 80. An extraordinary character, Klaenhardt was a regular competitor into his 70s and only stopped racing as cancer weakened him. Great fun on and off the track, Klaenhardt, who ran a hotdog stall on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn, took part for the pure enjoyment of his sport and should be commended for that. Our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of all.

FIA European Rallycross Championship, Alençon-Essay, France, 11-13/05/07

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