Welshman Osian Pryce ready for the week of his life
Welshman Osian Pryce ready for the week of his life
Welsh rally star Osian Pryce will start the biggest week of his life on Monday, when he steps aboard his Ford Fiesta R5 to test the car for Wales Rally GB.
Since confirming his entry on Wales’ foremost sporting event and Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, the 21-year-old Machynlleth driver’s feet haven’t touched the ground. As well as his usual commitments to a rigorous fitness regime, the four-time British Rally Championship event winner has been working closely with CA1 Sport, the Cumbrian team running the Fiesta R5 on next week’s Deeside-based world championship finale.
Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss spent yesterday (Thursday) working on the car livery to ensure the decals of sponsors THORUtilities, Red Kite (Manufacturing), Swift Group, G&M Pryce, DMACK, Morris Plant Hire and S. J. & S. Williams were in prime position and ready to be captured by the attending media who will beam pictures into millions of households around the world.
Pryce and Furniss are now readying themselves for a weekend in front of the computer screen as they scan cyberspace for as much onboard footage from the stages on last year’s Wales Rally GB as possible. While Osian lives just down the road from the start of the first stage and knows the corners through the Dyfi complex reasonably well, the likes of Clocaenog and Aberhirnant are far less familiar.
And then comes Monday. The big day: the first time Osian gets to push the ‘start’ button, select ‘stage’ mode and launch the R5 between the trees. Monday’s pre-event test is vital for him to acclimatise himself to the car and to find a set-up with which he is confident, comfortable and quick.
Tuesday and Wednesday are the days for the recce, when Osian and Dale join the world’s finest and fastest rally drivers to practice the stages in a standard car at speeds restricted to 50kph. The entire field makes two runs through every stage, writing a set of notes to describe every inch of the route. These notes are written in code, making it easier for Dale to read them out quickly when the crew are coming back down the stage at three times the speed during the rally.
Thursday morning’s shakedown stage offers one final test to make sure CA1 Sport and Osian are happy with everything on the car. After that, it’s off to Colwyn Bay and Eirias Park for the ceremonial start.
Finally, Friday. Good morning Gartheiniog and hello Hafren.
Wales Rally GB is go.
Osian said: “It’s getting closer. And I’m definitely getting more and more excited with each day that passes. I’m quite glad that I’ve been really busy with everything – there’s no time to get too nervous! This is a big opportunity for me and I’m determined to grab it with both hands.
“It was brilliant to be back with CA1 Sport again and it made everything so much more real once we saw the car looking lovely with THORUtilities, Red Kite (Manufacturing), Swift Group, G&M Pryce, DMACK, Morris Plant Hire and S. J. & S. Williams on the side. It took Dale and I eight hours to put the livery on the car, but it really was time well spent; it looks awesome.
“Now it’s time to start looking at some onboard footage, which will give us an indication of what’s to come when we start the recce next week. We will have an onboard camera in our recce car which, once we’ve finished driving the route, we will be spending as much time as possible watching again and again. Before the recce, we get to drive the car on Monday. And it would be a bit of an understatement to say I’m looking forward to that…”
Osian’s top five Welsh facts: they’re all true
1 Powys, where I live, is the biggest county in Wales.
2 Cawl is a traditional Welsh dish. It's essentially a lamb stew. And it's delicious.
3 Lots of Doctor Who is filmed in Wales.
4 Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff.
5 Led Zeppelin' Stairway to Heaven was written by Robert Plant when he was staying in my home town (Machynlleth).
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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