MOTOR RACING: Grantham saloon car driver Olly enjoys successful return to track

Olly Allen at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta.

Olly Allen at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta.

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Grantham saloon car racer Olly Allen enjoyed a successful weekend of competition at Silverstone.

Competing at the Motors TV Live Race Day event, Olly once again fielded his trusty Ford Fiesta in the opening two rounds of the Burton Power Blue Oval Saloon Car Championship.

Thanks to his main sponsor Xtralis and EMS, Olly will be racing the whole championship which comprises 16 rounds raced over eight double-header meetings.

But, as ever, Olly found himself leaving it to the last minute to get his Fiesta race-ready in time for the season opener at the Northamptonshire circuit.

Olly said: “It was a bit of mayhem before the weekend. We’ve rebuilt the car again, upgraded the engine and done quite a few modifications. We finished the car at the last minute as usual.”

Despite the hasty completion of his Fiesta’s rebuild and the cold, damp weekend ahead of him, Olly was soon back in the groove once on track and qualified for Saturday’s first race in fifth place overall and third in class, despite having slick tyres on a wet track.

The races saw his Ford championship combined with a VW series, a Honda VTEC one and Classic Touring Cars, making for a large and interesting field of machinery.

Despite the diverse array of opposition, Olly’s little Fiesta shone through and he took the lead before finally taking the chequered flag in second place overall and finishing as first Ford.

Olly and his Fiesta surpassed Saturday’s performance with victory the following day in the televised race.

He led from start to finish, crossing the line 11 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, in a VW, and leaving the pole position ex-Britcar VW trailing 26 seconds in his wake.

Olly said: “Overall, it was a brilliant weekend.”

The only downside to it all was the hospitalisation of Olly’s fellow driver and friend Matt Edwards, of Mansfield, who crashed his classic Ford Escort Mk II.

Fortunately, Matt survived the crash, albeit with multiple injuries, and also pulled through the following life-saving operation in hospital at Coventry.

Olly said it had put something of a dampener on the race weekend: “But I just kept my head down and concentrated on racing.

“I dedicated my race win to Matt when I was interviewed on Motors TV.”

Olly now has a month before his next race meeting which is at Castle Combe at the beginning of May.