Pat Doran Interview

Filed under: Classic News |
Pat DoranFor many years an ardent rally driver, Pat Doran suddenly switched to rallycross two years ago. In the beginning he made a bit of a name for himself as something of a wild man and someone to avoid at all costs. The midway through 1991 something radical happened and the driver from Walderslade became a respected member of the rallycross community and, moreover, a driver not only to watch, but beat. "When I bought the RS200, it was a brand new car built from parts at Boreham", he replied. "But it wasn't finished until half way through 1990 and France was the first event I did. It was a nice car but you couldn't drive it. It wouldn't turn in and we'd found the diffs had seized up and there was no power steering, so I was constantly making an idiot of myself, spinning the car everywhere and getting a bad name for myself." Pat manfully persevered with the undriveable RS200 but it wasn't until the 1990 Grand Prix that he managed to construct a power steering unit which made it a pleasure to drive. "It's made all the difference", he continued, "and it's like driving on rails now." By his own admission, Pat regards himself as 'boisterous', but he's a big chap and a real talker - probably something to do with the Irish ancestry deep rooted within him - and he tends to make himself heard. He certainly hasn't been slow asking for help from his fellow competitors and who better to ask than five times European Champion Martin Schanche. Doran stayed with Schanche in the week between the Norwegian Masters and the European Championship and he has nothing but praise for the Norwegian superstar, who helped put him on the right track. During the Masters event, I snapped two propshafts and the bell-housing in two separate heats. Martin lent us a propshaft and bell-housing, in fact he lent us loads of gear and gave us advice on how to stop breaking things", said Pat, who reckons the Norwegian round as the best and most professional of all the EC rounds. It was in Belgium in August that things began to look up for him, victory in the 'C' Final earning the Bow Waste/Shell-backed drive a place at the back of the 'B' Final. From there it was a 5th place and his first visit to parc ferme. A week later and Doran was in Holland where he set the fastest time in the first heat. Ultimately he wound up 3rd on the grid for the 'A' Final, only to have his propshaft snap as he left the line. He was next to Gollop in the 'A' Final of the Norwegian round but a clash between the two Brits left Doran 6th and last at the chequered flag. At Lydden he more than made amends by taking runner-up spot to Schanche, but not before many people reckoned he'd jumped the start in the 'A' Final. Doran now adopts the Kristoffersson method of 'counting down' from the red light to the green and going but admits, it can be a pretty close call. "I don't think I jumped the lights. I got away and followed Martin and he practically stopped on the apex of the corner, which he does so that people behind him lose momentum. I didn't even see Will. I followed Martin and when they stopped the race and we could see the fire, we were all really devastated." He continued: "We came round for the restart and again I didn't think I'd jumped the start. Well, now maybe I did, maybe I didn't, I don't know for certain." It wasn't really Pat's problem anyway, because the beams didn't detect a jump start but Gollop's accident certainly soured the Lydden round. Despite his 12 years as a rally driver, 32-year old Doran has always wanted to do rallycross. He brings from rallying many ideas for professional improvement to the sport to which he is now totally committed and would like to see the presentation of rallycross greatly improved to raise the image and thereby attract better sponsorship for these supercars, which costs thousands to build.Tags:,