Osian Pryce enjoys the perfect Wales Rally GB test
Osian Pryce enjoys the perfect Wales Rally GB test
The smile on Osian Pryce’s face says it all. He’s tuned himself in to the Ford Fiesta R5 he will be driving on this week’s Wales Rally GB after just 30 miles of driving in Alwen forest.
He’s ready to go now. But he’s still got three days to wait before Thursday night’s ceremonial start in Colwyn Bay.
Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss spent today fine-tuning the set-up of the Ford Fiesta R5 they will use to contest Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship this week. Despite never having driven a four-wheel drive rally car in anger before, the 21-year-old came out of the car comfortable, confident and blown away by the total traction on offer from a state-of-the-art rally car built by two-time world champions M-Sport.
Today was all about the test. Tomorrow Machynlleth’s finest and fastest will have another test in store, as he fields some tricky questions…
Osian said: “I had an idea of what to expect from this car and the reality lived up to and beyond those expectations – it was awesome! I hadn’t driven the car before today, not even turned a wheel in it. On the road along to the stage it felt nice, but once we got into the test road, it was fantastic. I felt at home straight away.
“After three runs, I came back to service and CA1 Sport softened off the rear suspension, just to give us some more grip at the back of the car. We then softened the front as well to give us some more grip off the line, but that was it. Honestly, after around 30 miles of driving, I felt comfortable and completely at home in the car. I love it and I want the rally to start now!
“The test road was really good. We’re just down the road from where some of the stages will be running during the event, so it couldn’t get more representative. Today’s been the perfect day and the aim is to continue this run into the event itself. I’ve said it before, but my sponsors THORUtilities, Red Kite (Manufacturing), Swift Group, G&M Pryce, Morris Plant Hire, S. J. & S. Williams Ltd and DMACK have given me this opportunity and I’m not going to waste it this week.”
The test in detail: Osian’s day today
Location: Alwen, Clocaenog
Miles/kilometres completed: 30 miles/48 kilometres
Weather: dry but overcast
Stage nature: mixture of fast and technical sections in a 1.8-mile/3.0-kilometre test
Stage condition: wet and muddy in places – typical of the Clocaenog complex
The Ford Fiesta R5: Osian’s ride this week in detail
Engine: M-Sport developed 1.6 turbo, direct injection powerplant developing 270bhp. FIA regulated 32mm restrictor. Life Racing engine control unit and power management systems.
Bodyshell: M-Sport designed bespoke rollcage. R5 aero package.
Transmission: Sadev 5-speed sequential gearbox mated to Sadev front and rear differentials.
Suspension: front and rear MacPherson struts with Reiger external reservoir dampers, three-way adjustable. Front and rear anti roll-bar options.
Interior: FIA 8862 Standard Competition Seats with 6-point, HANS compatible harnesses. AP Racing fly-by-wire, fully adjustable pedal box. Life Racing fully functional drivers display controlled by a membrane switch panel.
Brakes: AP Racing forged 4-piston front and rear calipers. Vented discs 300 x 28mm. Hydraulic Handbrake.
Wheels: 7 x 15-inch.
The history lesson: Britain’s biggest rally
Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship is older than the World Rally Championship itself. Wales Rally GB – or the RAC Rally as it was known back then – first ran in 1932. The winner was decided from a series of driving tests and the competitive element was almost secondary to the social occasion.
All of that changed in 1960, when the first special stage was run up Monument Hill in Argyl, Scotland. From then on, the event took the forestry commission roads and has stayed there since. The World Rally Championship was formed in 1973 and the RAC Rally was a founding round and has remained on the calendar since.
With multi-national sponsors such as Lombard and Network Q, the event moved around the country regularly, starting from London some years and York or Harrogate on others. In 2000, the event moved to Cardiff after the Welsh Assembly Government agreed funding for the event. It has remained within Wales ever since.
Wales Rally GB moved north from the capital to Deeside last year, in an effort to draw in more spectators from major urban areas such as Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester. The switch to a route drawing on the forests of mid and north Wales was seen as a great success. And this year’s event is sold out to competitors for the first time since it moved to Wales 14 years ago.
About Osian Pryce
Date of birth: 24.02.93
Co-driver: Dale Furniss
First rally: Rally Kurzeme (Latvia) August 2009 – 37thoverall, eighth 2WD
British Rally Championship event wins: 4
British Rally Championship results: 2nd(2013/14), 3rd(2012)
World Rally Championship starts: 2
World Rally Championship class wins: 1
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About Wales Rally GB
Date: November 13-16
Competitive distance: 189 miles (305 kilometres)
Total distance: 846 miles (1363 kilometres)
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