Dream day delivered for Welsh star Osian
Dream day delivered for Welsh star Osian
After a near-perfect opening day on Rally Poland, Welsh star Osian Pryce takes a 15-second lead into day two of Junior World Rally Championship competition tomorrow.
Osian and co-driver Dale Furniss made the best possible start to the day with fastest time on the Gorklo stage. Run just outside the host town of Mikołajki, the eight-mile test had the look of a loosener. Loosener or not, Osian leap-frogged his way from fourth to first with a scorching and unbeatable time through SS2. The first stage was run at the superspecial close to service on Thursday night.
The crews moved north to run alongside the Russian border in stage three, where Pryce’s THORUtilities and G&M Pryce-backed DS 3 was fastest again. The hat-trick of Junior scratch times came on SS4, where Osian moved 6.6 seconds clear of the chasing pack.
The Machynlleth driver’s hard work was undone in SS5 – the day’s longest stage at 24.30 miles – close to the Lithuanian border, when he caught a slower car ahead of him. Forced to run in the dust for six miles, Pryce was unable to see much beyond the end of the bonnet. He throttled back and drove sensibly to the finish.
”Of course it was disappointing to be stuck in somebody’s dust,” Osian said, while changing tyres at lunchtime in the border town of Gołdap. “But the key was to stay calm. We’d been sensible all morning and I was determined not to throw all the good work away in one rash move.”
Sensible and calm words from the 22-year-old who had his 6.6-second lead overturned; he would start the afternoon third in the Junior race and 18.1 off the front.
Osian started the afternoon in the same way he’d started the morning: fastest. Banking on a second run at the longest stage to pull back some of the time lost first time through, the Welshmen were disappointed when the stage was cancelled.
That frustration was channeled into the final long stage of the day, where they were an astonishing 11.7 seconds – more than a second per mile – faster than any of their class rivals, taking the Junior lead back.
“We’ve had a great day today,” said Pryce at the close of play. “It’s been pretty close to perfect and it would have been without that dust issue this morning, but that’s the way it goes. We want more of the same tomorrow. The stages are generally similar, which is fantastic – it’s lovely driving the car down these roads, when we can take our own line and really press on. I’ve loved it, to be honest. The car hasn’t missed a beat and to be out front in the Junior World Rally Championship is a pretty special feeling. Can’t wait for tomorrow morning now!”
Today in numbers: Osian did what, when in his class?
SS1: 4thfastest (4thin Junior WRC) steady run at Thursday night superspecial
SS2: fastest (1st in Junior WRC) moves into the lead of JWRC
SS3: fastest (1st in Junior WRC) extends JWRC lead
SS4: fastest (1st in Junior WRC) the hat-trick! Lead even bigger now
SS5: 3rdfastest (3rdin Junior WRC) catches dust from car ahead for six miles
SS6: fastest (3rd in Junior WRC) completes stage with broken damper
SS7: stage cancelled
SS8: fastest (1st in Junior WRC) Osian back to the front, fastest again
SS9: 3rdfastest (1st in Junior WRC) ends the day with 15.1s lead
Tomorrow in detail
Start: Mikołajki 0640
Three stages run twice; two stages run once
Service: Mikołajki 1323
Parc ferme (end of day): Mikołajki 2038
Longest stage: Paprotki (23.15 km/14.38 miles)
Competition day two distance: 129.29 km/80.34 miles
Total day two distance: 574.83 km/357.19 miles
The boys will be heading out east of Mikołajki, towards Olecko tomorrow. And they’d better wrap up… Olecko is the place where Poland’s coldest ever temperature was recorded. It was 1929, February and the mercury dropped to -42 Celsius.
Tomorrow it’s unlikely that record will be beaten as temperatures will make a swing of almost 70 degrees in the opposite direction with 30-plus expected on what’s being billed as a scorching Saturday. In case you’re interested, if a meteorological record for the hottest temperature in Poland is to be broken, we need to hit 40.3 Celsius. We can probably do without that.
As for the roads, there’ll be more of the same: super-quick sandy stages. If anything, they’re a little bit slower than today with more junctions in. And, unlike today when the cars had no service and only a remote tyre fitting zone (which meant Osian and Dale getting their hands dirty), the cars will be back into Mikołajki for lunchtime service which means something to eat and drink while Autosport Technology tends to the car.
The Citroën DS 3 R3-Max Osian’s ride this week in detail
Engine: EP6 CDT 1598cc turbo, direct injection developing 234bhp and 430Nm at 3000rpm.
Bodyshell: Reinforced body with welded, multi-point roll cage.
Transmission: Front-wheel drive with six-speed sequential gearbox, activated from steering wheel-mounted paddle. Differential is self-locking ZF.
Suspension: front MacPherson struts with BOS three-way adjustable dampers.
Numbers: Bore and stroke 77 x 85.8mm width 1715mm length 3948mm wheelbase 2465mm fuel tank capacity 67 litres weight 1230kg.
Brakes: Alcon forged 4-piston front calipers, 2-piston rears. Vented discs 330 x 34mm (front) 300 x 8mm (rear). Hydraulic handbrake.Wheels: 6 x 15-inch.
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: 5
World Rally Championship class wins: 1
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About the Junior WRC
Won by such rallying greats as Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier, the Junior WRC title remains the most sought after drivers’ title outside of the World Rally Championship itself.
The series is open to drivers under the age of 28 and is fought out over some of the world’s most demanding rallies. The diversity of events Osian is hoping to contest this year is incredible: he’ll go from flying 50 metres at a time through the forests of Jyvaskyla on what’s known as the Finnish Grand Prix (Rally Finland) to the agonisingly slow Rally of 10,000 Corners (Tour de Corse).
Crews score on six of seven rounds of the Junior WRC. Osian and Dale missed the opening round of the season on Monte Carlo and will, therefore count all six from the calendar listed below.
All Junior WRC crews will drive the identical Citroën DS 3 R3-Max, the latest evolution of Citroën Racing’s super-successful 1600cc turbocharged, front-wheel drive rally car. And all the crews will run identical Michelin tyres on all six rallies.
Osian and Dale will also compete for the WRC 3 title, which is the FIA’s support series for category R3 cars.
Osian’s last rally…
Rally of Portugal (May 21-24)
The combination of punctures, trouble with the dampers, auxiliary belt and electrical issues, powersteering failure and brake problems meant Osian and Dale didn’t finish. In fact, they only managed eight clean stages over the three days. But, of those eight, they were fastest on three and in the top three times on another three. Not bad for their first time in Portugal.
And this rally…
Rally Poland (July 2-5)
A super-quick gravel round, Poland was one of the most popular rallies of last year. The event will run wholly within Poland this time, after experimenting with a cross-border route in Lithuania last year. Run out of the Polish Lake District town of Mikolajki, the event is always one of the best attended by fans.
Lotos Rally Poland detail:
Date: July 2-5
Competitive distance: 194.82 miles (313.53 kilometres)
Total distance: 741.01 miles (1192.50 kilometres)
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