Ovie Iroro enjoys solid Donington Formula Ford debut

Nigerian racer Ovie Iroro enjoyed a solid start to his Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain career, taking a brace of race finishes and showing noticeable improvement on track through the course of the weekend at Donington Park.The 20-year-old mechanical engineering student, who moved to the UK from Lagos two years ago, was making his debut with the Richardson Racing team having inked a deal to contest the British Touring Car Championship support series as he makes the move up from karting.Having had the opportunity to test the team’s Ford EcoBoost-powered Mygale at a number of circuits over recent months, Ovie went into his first race weekend in the series keen to learn as much as possible, with his focus on making progress on track throughout the three races.Testing at the circuit before the race weekend had seen Ovie improve his best lap time by nearly two seconds during two separate sessions on-track, although an electrical issue in qualifying prevented the rookie from improving on his time as he secured eleventh place on the grid when the weekend action got underway.Staying out of trouble when the opening race kicked off, Ovie successfully brought his car to the finish in the same position he started, posting his fastest lap of the famous Donington Park circuit and just missing out on a maiden top ten finish.Wet weather for the second race added a further challenge for Ovie but, despite conditions catching out a number of more experienced racers in the various series’ in action at the East Midlands circuit, he again stayed out of trouble to take a second finish of the weekend; taking the chequered flag in a solid twelfth spot.Sadly his weekend would end in premature fashion when a clash with Greg Holloway’s Sinter in the early stages of race three damaged a trackrod and forced him to retire, with Ovie now turning his focus to the next round of the season at the fearsome Thruxton circuit in Hampshire in two weeks time.“Overall I think it’s been a good weekend,” he said. “I can’t say I’m totally happy with the results because I wanted to get three finishes, but it felt good in race one and race two and I was able to show improvements throughout which is what my aim was for this weekend. In race three it was unfortunate that there was some contact with Greg as it damaged the car and meant I had no option but to retire.“It was good for me to be racing with people towards the back of the field despite my lack of experience and I was able to learn more over the weekend about what I need to do to push the car to its limits so I can start to move forwards up the grid.“I think it’s been a good start and I can't wait for Thruxton.”Team principal Gwyn Richardson said he was pleased by the performance shown by his rookie racer on his series debut.“This weekend has been a huge learning curve for Ovie,” he said. “He got closer to the outright pace as the weekend went on and has made huge improvements in his driving. He listened to the advice he was given and has taken it onboard, and the only thing he really lacks is time in the car.“He enjoyed himself on track which is important and hopefully he can maintain his progress in the next round at Thruxton, where he put in a good showing during the recent pre-event test despite it being his first run in the car at one of the most difficult circuits on the calendar.”