By Paul Evans
Contesting his first event in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, and without any pre-event testing, the 27-year old set second fastest time on all but one of the tight and technical stages to finish just 18.5 seconds behind WRC 2 regular Rhys Yates (Ford Fiesta R5).
The Machynlleth-born driver was comfortably ahead of third-placed Ollie Mellors (who was co-driven by Welshman Max Freeman in a Proton Iriz R5).
The event was held exclusively within the famous Goodwood Motor Circuit, with the route containing fast asphalt sections around the Northern and Southern loops, together with gravel infield and perimeter road sections.
Co-driven by Newtown’s Jess Hockly in the Melvyn Evans Motorsport-run Polo GTI, Pryce set the third fastest time on the opening stage, before moving up to second on stage two and maintaining that position all the way to the end.
With the event streamed live on the big-audience Goodwood social media platforms – including a live on-board camera from inside Pryce’s car – and recorded highlights broadcast on ITV4, it was an ideal way to launch his #OPRGLOBAL campaign, which is aimed at seeing him return to top flight rally competition in 2021.
“It was great to return to rallying after a very long eight-month layoff, and it was a real blast to contest the Goodwood SpeedWeek Super Special Stages,” says Pryce.
“The stages themselves might have been short, but they were very busy and technical and they had plenty in them to keep you on your toes.
“It was a challenge to be quick straight out of the box, especially in a brand new car that I hadn’t tested beforehand, but we enjoyed a faultless drive and scored a great result, especially against strong opposition.
“First impressions of the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 are very good – it’s an impressive car, which I’m confident we could quickly fine-tune to my exact driving style and really achieve a lot of great things in.
“Goodwood SpeedWeek was the ideal high-profile event to launch my #OPRGLOBAL campaign, and the work continues to find partners for our 2021 rally programme.
“I have to say a big thank you to Jess [Hockly] for doing an excellent job in the co-driver’s seat, to Melvyn Evans Motorsport for ensuring the Polo GTI R5 looked magnificent and ran faultlessly and to Omologato Watches, Pirelli and G&M Pryce Ltd for their invaluable support this weekend.”