BOSS Ireland - Rounds 1&2 - Mondello Park - 13th June
16-year-old Karl O’Brien made his single seater debut with a bang, in both a figurative and literal sense, at Mondello Park last weekend. In the hope of getting his planned Monoposto campaign underway in the UK next month, the Robertstown teen joined the BOSS Ireland grid for the weekend in order to log some all-important race mileage.
Friday testing went well, with no mistakes, solid pace on display and the weekend schedule provided a day’s rest before the BOSS series took centre stage on Sunday’s timetable. Karl continued his strong pace into qualifying, setting a time good enough for 7th of the 17 cars, with his Global Service Centre Leastone 1000 in among some extremely powerful machinery.
Karl showed no signs of nerves for his first single-seater start and immediately got stuck into battle during the opening laps. His pace through the corners was allowing him to attack some of the superior machinery ahead but he was struggling to keep pace on the straights. Nevertheless, he didn’t let this frustration get the better of him and drove an extremely mature race, mixing it well among the series veterans.
Karls promising run would come to an abrupt end on lap 13 when he was taken out at Turn 2, in a move that would see his competitor excluded from the results and receive penalty points on his licence. The team then faced a scramble to have the car repaired in the short break between races but the they managed to pull it off and Karl was able to take his grid slot for the days final event.
Any worries that the Race 1 shunt might have affected his confidence were immediately dispelled, as Karl picked up where he left off and went on the attack from lights out. He pulled himself into the top 5 and continued to chip away at his already impressive pace, so much so that with the battles developing ahead of him, it looked like he might have a sniff of a podium later in the race.
Unfortunately that was not to be as just after the mid-point of the race, he suffered a suspension failure. This appeared to be a carryover from the Race 1 damage, which was missed by the team in the rush between races. Despite showing two DNF’s, Karl had shown great pace on his debut and ultimately achieved the main aim of the weekend; race mileage.
Leastone boss Paul Heavey was happy with his new charges performance, regardless of the result: ‘The most impressive aspect of Karls weekend was the lack of mistakes. He has car experience from his Ginetta Junior days but this is a very different car. Obviously the pace is there, both he and the car gave a very good account of themselves over the weekend and Karl progressively increased his speed throughout the day. From the results, it looks like the track was getting slower over the course of the day but Karl still matched his qualifying time, which shows the progress. Following this performance, we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do the other side of the water!’
All going to plan, the team will travel to Oulton Park for the 7th and 8th rounds of the Monoposto Championship on July 24th. This of course is highly dependent on the COVID restrictions in place across Ireland and the UK at that time.