O’Brien races to impressive victory at Rockingham

Michael O'Brien on his way to victory at Rockingham
Michael O'Brien on his way to victory at Rockingham

Michael O’Brien scored an impressive victory at Rockingham on Sunday in round five of the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship.

The 20-year-old driver from Helmdon took the lead from pole position in a race that was held in atrociously wet conditions and was never headed throughout.

O’Brien pulled out an impressive 2.5 second lead on the first lap and even the intervention of a safety car period which wiped out his advantage could not stop him storming to a commanding victory.

Compared to his rivals, O’Brien had very little car racing experience under his belt and minimal testing time due to budget restraints meant this was his first ever run on the Pirelli wet tyres.

The win combined with an eighth place finish in Saturday’s race and some consistent results in the opening three rounds at Oulton Park, where he had never driven before, was enough to secure ninth place in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship.

O’Brien, a former champion junior downhill mountain bike racer, said: “I’ve never driven in such treacherous conditions and to have my first experience of driving this car in the wet with the pressure of starting from pole position was a bit daunting.

“However, once I took the lead on lap one and could see I was able to pull away from my rivals, I always felt I had the race under control – the safety car made things difficult – but I was able to open up a gap and hold the lead to the chequered flag.”

The car is prepared at Silverstone by Speedsport, run by his father Mike O’Brien, a former touring car driver.