Osian seals heroic Wales Rally GB drive
Osian seals heroic Wales Rally GB drive
Welsh rally star Osian Pryce delivered the drive of his life to clinch an incredible top-20 position overall on Wales Rally GB, which finished in Llandudno this afternoon.
The 21-year-old had never competed in a four-wheel drive car before the start of this week’s final round of the World Rally Championship, but drove like a seasoned professional, eclipsing the effort and result of many of the world championship stars around him.
Despite only having driven the car for 30 miles before the start, Osian and co-driver Dale were immediately on the pace and at the front of their class – which is the main feeder series into the WRC. And, having grabbed people’s attention with their exceptional effort, they then went one better and won the fourth stage of the event, setting fastest time for the WRC2 and RC2 crews.
Backed by THORUtilities, Red Kite (Manufacturing), Swift Group, G&M Pryce, Morris Plant Hire, S. J. & S. Williams Ltd and DMACK, Pryce consolidated his star performance through Saturday and today’s final six stages close to Ruthin.
The only issue for Osian over the weekend was being forced to run further down the road in more unfavourable conditions than the World Rally Championship regulars, who were prioritised ahead of him in the running order. But that wasn’t about to put a dampener on a result on a rally he wasn’t even sure he’d be entering a month ago.
The cheer which erupted as Osian and Dale crossed the finish ramp in the centre of Llandudno matched the feeling of elation in the car.
And their efforts didn’t go unnoticed.
Malcolm Wilson OBE, team principal M-Sport World Rally Team said: “I have been very impressed with what Osian did. The times he was setting, certainly the times early in the rally, have really caught my eye. Given that he had so little knowledge of the car before the start, he’s done very, very well.”
Elfyn Evans, M-Sport World Rally Team driver and fellow Welshman added: “Osian was mega impressive. His main competitor Jari Ketomaa knows the car inside out and for Osian to be anywhere near, let alone beating him, was fantastic. He’s just jumped in the car and got on with it. The times he has done have been mighty impressive.”
Osian said: “A few weeks ago, I wasn’t even doing this event. Just getting to the start was a real achievement. So, to do what we have done, I’m over the moon. It’s fantastic. A dream come true! We made some great times on the first day, that fastest time in Maesnant was awesome and a real highlight.
“Since then it has been a bit tougher running further down the field, the road was deteriorating and getting quite a bit more slippery the further back you got. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are here, at the finish with a result from a rally which has been just incredible. I have loved every minute of driving this car and the job now is to make this result count for something as we move forward into next season.”
Today in numbers: Osian did what, when in his class?
SS18: 9thfastest (7thin class)
SS19: 4thfastest (7thin class)
SS20: 9thfastest (7thin class)
SS21: 12thfastest (7thin class)
SS22: 5thfastest (7thin class)
SS23: 12thfastest (7thin class)
The Ford Fiesta R5: Osian’s ride 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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