Solid start for Osian’s Finnish adventure
Solid start for Osian’s Finnish adventure
And so it has begun. Osian Pryce’s Neste Rally Finland dream became a reality this evening, when he drove the opening stage of an event he’s been thinking about since he was a boy.
Second quickest – missing the stage win by just six tenths of a second – it’s tomorrow when the real work begins.
For drivers the world over, rallies don’t come any bigger, faster or higher (car from road-wise) than this week’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Rally Finland is the king-maker. Not that you’d have thought so if you’d seen tonight’s opener around the streets of Jyväskylä; the mile and a bit long asphalt dash means nothing and has very little in comparison with the gravel roads lying in wait – but still Osian and co-driver Dale Furniss loved it.
The Welshmen, who secured the first part of the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy prize (two paid drives in next year’s World Rally Championship) at Rally Poland earlier this month, tested their Ford Fiesta R2T at this morning’s shakedown stage before preparing themselves for SS1 this evening.
“Shakedown was good,” said Osian. “It was important to get back in the car and get a few miles on the loose under our belt again. We haven’t done anything since Poland and even though it’s only three weeks since that event, it feels like a really long time out of the car.
“Even the street stage tonight is famous. When you watch YouTube footage of Rally Finland and the 1000 Lakes going back to the Eighties and Nineties, you see this stage being driven by Hannu Mikkola in an Audi Quattro, Tommi Mäkinen in a Mitsubishi and Colin [McRae] in a Subaru of some sort. Just this mile-long stage is a very, very big deal – there’s a story on every corner of this event. It’s fantastic to be here and to be competing.
“But the focus is tomorrow and the first stage proper: Mökkiperä. I’ve dreamed of this moment for a long time, but it’s a reality now and with that reality comes expectation – I want to win DDFT and I want the next two prize drives that are up for grabs on Sunday afternoon.”
Osian’s five favourite Finnish facts:
If you take a taxi in Finland and the cabbie’s playing Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard, he has to pay Richard royalties. It’s the same if Highway to Hell comes on, he owes AC/DC. In fact, while you’re onboard, it’s the same with any music: if he plays, he pays royalties. Once you’re gone, he listens for free. Most cab rides in Finland are very quiet.
Don’t butt in! Finnish culture frowns on anybody interrupting on a conversation.
But do get naked… in the sauna. It’s nothing but the birthday suit when you step inside the hottest room in town.
And don’t try to use a public telephone – there aren’t any. But… there are more than five million mobile phones in Finland, not bad for a country with a population of 5.4m!
Finland hosts the annual Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship. Seriously, slinging your cell has been a national sport since 2000. The current record is held by Dries Feremans, who hurled his handheld 110.42 metres in 2014. The 2017 World Championship event, held in Savonlinna next March, is bidding for title of Winter Sport of 2017.
Friday July 29
Osian’s day starts: 0730
Osian’s day finishes: 2230
Number of stages: 11
Competitive distance: 91.16 miles (146.70km)
Total distance: 382.20 miles (615.07km)
Longest stage: SS4/9 Jukojärvi 13.20 miles (21.25km)
Shortest stage: SS12 Super Special Harju 1.41 miles (2.27km)
Date of birth: 24.02.93
Co-driver: Dale Furniss
First rally: Rally Kurzeme (Latvia) August 2009 – 37thoverall, eighth 2WD
Rally starts: 59
British Rally Championship event wins: 5*
British Rally Championship results: 2nd(2013/14), 3rd(2012)
World Rally Championship starts: 7
World Rally Championship class wins: 2
* Including Osian’s dominant National Rally Cup victory on this year’s Mid Wales Stages
About Rally Finland
July 28-July 31
Competitive distance: 333.99km (207.54 miles)
Total distance: 1370.66km (851.72 miles)
Rally Finland Itinerary
Thursday July 28
Start Jyväskylä Paviljonki 1842
SS1 Harju 1 2.27km (1.41 miles) 1900
Friday July 29
SS2 Mökkiperä 1 8.60 miles (13.84km) 0713
SS3 Halinen 4.19 miles (6.75km) 0746
SS4 Jukojärvi 1 13.20 miles (21.25km) 0902
SS5 Surkee 1 9.28 miles (14.95km) 1039
SS6 Horkka 1 9.38 miles (15.10km) 1132
Service Jyväskylä Paviljonki 1234
SS7 Äänekoski-Valtra 4.59 miles (7.40km) 1410
SS8 Mökkiperä 2 8.60 miles (13.84km) 1508
SS9 Jukojärvi 2 13.20 miles (21.25km) 1638
SS10 Surkee 2 9.28 miles (14.95km) 1815
SS11 Horkka 2 9.38 miles (15.10km) 1908
SS12 Harju 2 1.41 miles (2.27km) 2030
Service Jyväskylä Paviljonki 2050
Saturday July 30
SS13 Ouninpohja 1 20.50 miles (33.0km) 0808
SS14 Päijälä 1 14.60 miles (23.50km) 0911
SS15 Pihlajakoski 1 9.01 miles (14.51km) 1034
SS16 Saalahti 1 2.73 miles (4.40km) 1152
Service Jyväskylä Paviljonki 1242
SS17 Ouninpohja 2 20.50 miles (33.0km) 1448
SS18 Päijälä 2 14.60 miles (23.50km) 1551
SS19 Pihlajakoski 2 9.01 miles (14.51km) 1714
SS20 Saalahti 2 2.73 miles (4.40km) 1832
Service Jyväskylä Paviljonki 1922
Sunday July 31
SS21 Lempää 1 4.28 miles (6.90km) 0828
SS22 Oittila 1 6.33 miles (10.20km) 0921
SS23 Lempää 2 4.28 miles (6.90km) 1115
SS24 Oittila 2 6.33 miles (10.20km) 1308
Finish Jyväskylä Paviljonki 1413
Neste Rally Finland media contact:
+358 40 682 2662
Now say hello to the Ford Fiesta R2T
Engine: 999cc turbo, 12-valve, three cylinders
Max power: 180bhp @ 6,200rpm
Max torque: 250Nm @ 4,000rpm
Transmission: Sadev five-speed sequential gearbox, plated limited-slip differential and uprated driveshafts
Suspension: Adjustable Reiger dampers, Eibach springs
Brakes: 285mm discs four-piston calipers (front gravel); 310mm discs four-piston calipers (front asphalt); 280mm discs two-piston calipers (rear); hydraulic handbrake
Wheels: OZ Racing 6x15-inch (gravel); 6.5x15-inch (asphalt)
Dimensions: length 3982mm; width 1695mm; height 1481mm; wheelbase 2490mm
Osian’s guide to 2016
Osian and Dale will contest five rounds of the World Rally Championship in the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy. Here’s the details and an Osian download on the big five.
Been and gone…
Osian outings: 2 (2015, retired – mechanical; 2016 1stin DDFT)
Stage wins: 4
Stages led: 1
Osian and Dale took a sensible approach to the first half of the Porto-based opener, but still remained in the top three throughout the event. Moved to the front on the final day and took the win by almost two minutes.
June 30-July 3
Osian outings: 2 (2015, 2ndJunior WRC)
Stage wins: 8
Stages led: 4
Rarely has second place been celebrated in quite such a fashion. Osian’s result secured him the first major victory of the World Rally Championship season so far. Leading the points race after the first two DDFT rounds, Osian and Dale are now confirmed as factory DMACK drivers for two WRC events in a Ford Fiesta R5 next season.
Osian outings: 0
Osian says: “Talk to anybody involved in rallying and they’ll talk about Finland. It’s the spiritual home of our sport. OK, recently we’ve had a couple of French guys dominating the sport, but Finland’s where it’s at when it comes to the big heroes in the world championship. And you only have to take a look at the roads to see why some of the best drivers in the world come from here. The speed’s high and the jumps are just incredible – we’ll be flying through the air for 30 or 40 metres at more than 100mph this summer. Can’t wait for take off!”
Up and coming…
Osian outings: 0
Osian says: “This is a rally of three parts: the vineyard stages, the military testing ground and the country stages. The vineyards are absolutely full of hairpins, winding their way up and down the Mosel valley; absolute precision on the handbrake is called for here. Baumholder is an area used by the army to test tanks, which means plenty of surface changes from good asphalt to really broken concrete; the big danger here is from hinkelsteins, these are massive lumps of rock at the side of the road used to keep tanks on the straight and narrow. And if they don’t move for tanks, they’re not about to move for our Ford Fiesta R2T!
“Finally, the country roads. We’ll feel a bit more at home here, these are not too dissimilar to what we see in Ireland. And, running through the countryside, these stages are prone to the same kind of cow-related surface changes we see in Ireland…”
Rally of Spain
Osian outings: 0
Osian says: “Two rallies in one when we get to the final event in Catalunya. The first day is on the gravel, which looks to be fairly similar in places to Portugal, but then it’s a weekend on the asphalt. The Tarmac stages are all really nice and now some of the most famous in the world. Generally, they’re double-width roads which flow quite nicely and allow you to carry good speed.
“Like the four events before Spain, I can’t wait to get there and try them out for myself!”
About the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy
The brainchild of M-Sport World Rally Team principal Malcolm Wilson and DMACK managing director Dick Cormack, the DDFT takes the best young drivers from around the world and pitches them into a five-round fight for the biggest prize south of the World Rally Championship itself.
There’s a season in a Ford Fiesta R5 car at rallying’s second tier – WRC2 – on offer to the winner after five rounds. The structure of DDFT has changed slightly this season, with rallies being paired (Portugal and Poland; Poland and Finland; Germany and Spain) and the crew gathering the most points from each of those two rallies will win two rallies in the R5 car next season.
Winning a full WRC2 season of 2017 competition in an M-Sport Fiesta R5 will require consistent speed from Osian and Dale this year.
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