Supercar rookie continues to impress – Dan Rooke takes maiden British Rallycross Supercar victory at the Championship’s second round held at Lydden Hill over the Easter weekend.
Heads are beginning to turn across the RX community as Dan Rooke continues his excellent form in his debut British Rallycross Supercar season. Rooke backed up his debut podium finish gained at Croft Circuit earlier this month by winning the second round of the championship at Lydden Hill Race Circuit.
Rooke qualified for the front row of the Supercar final, starting on the outside of Semi-final winners Kevin Procter and Ollie O’Donovan. Former champion O’Donovan made the best start in the run to turn one and led the race until the fourth lap, when he suffered turbo problems with his Ford Focus. Procter was out of contention after the first corner with a damaged inter-cooler, while Rooke took an early joker lap and set about pursuing O’Donovan, taking the lead on lap four and cruising to his maiden victory.
James Grint made the best start of all from the back row of the grid and moved to second on lap one, only to spin and drop places. In a race of high attrition, the Albatec Racing driver climbed back to third by the chequered flag, behind Mark Flaherty, who finished second.
“That was amazing. I took it steady once I passed Ollie (O’Donovan), and tried to keep it neat and tidy. It just came together for us,” said 2015 Supernational champion, Rooke. “Driving a Supercar here is totally different to driving a Supernational car, I felt like I had a lot to learn. With this car you need to be so committed, it’s definitely a big learning kerb but so much fun! We never expected this at all, to be leading the championship after the second race is just fantastic!”
Flaherty scored his first podium since returning to the sport in 2014, after a 20-year absence. “From the weekend we’ve had, that’s a good result. We’ve had a misfire all weekend and we’ve still got a gearbox problem. It would be better to be on the top step, that’s what we all want,” he said.
Former RX150 front-runner Grint was delighted to score a podium for the Albatec Racing team. “It wasn’t the cleanest of finals for me, but I had a great time. We had a few issues all weekend but we’re on top of them now. Even with having a spin in the final, to come third, I’m absolutely delighted with that,” said Grint. “It’s been an up and down weekend for the whole team, so this is a great result for all of us.”
The event was joined by the Belgian Rallycross Championship. Johnny Verkuringen (Belgium) took top Belgian honours by finishing fourth in the final, ahead of the limping O’Donovan. Procter failed to complete the race distance.
Steve Hill and Andy Grant both qualified for the final but neither finished, while FIA World Rallycross Championship driver Liam Doran set front-running pace in the event but broken driveshafts kept him out of the final stages and five-time British Rallycross champion Julian Godfrey missed the start of the first semi-final.
MSA Supercar results: 1 Dan Rooke (Citroen DS3), 2 Mark Flaherty (Focus), 3 James Grint (Peugeot 208), 4 Johnny Verkuringen (Subaru Impreza), 5 Ollie O’Donovan (Focus), 6 Kevin Procter (Fiesta), 7 Steve Hill (Mitsubishi Evo), 8 Andy Grant (Focus)
Full results including other categories can be found at rallycrossbrx.co.uk