By Paul Evans
Osian Pryce made a successful return to the British Rally Championship (BRC) – finishing third on the Neil Howard Stages in his Rocked-!T-backed Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
The event on Monday was the 28-year old Machynlleth driver’sfirst rally for eight months, his first at the OultonPark motor racing circuit, his second outing in the Melvyn Evans Motorsport-prepared Polo and the beginning of his first full BRC title assault since 2017 – yet he finished just eight seconds behind the event winner.
Pryce finished five seconds ahead of double British champion Matt Edwards.
The Llandudno man, also driving a Polo GTI, dropped out of the podium positions after being giving a 10 second penalty for not slowing down after a flying finish.
“It’s good to come away from the opening round of the British Rally Championship with strong points for third in the bag and a lot of good rallies to look forward to,” said Pryce.
“It was very difficult to find any sort of rhythm at Oulton Park, because you went straight out of service and into a stage and then you had a fairly long wait back in service until the next stage. I’d got used to the format of the event by the afternoon and I enjoyed the second half of the rally a lot more.
“The British Rally Championship starts in earnestnext month on the Nicky Grist Stages, and I’m looking forward to driving the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in the forests for the first time.”
The next round of the British Rally Championship is the Nicky Grist Stages on Saturday 10 July.
Neil Howard Stages – top 10 finishers
1. Sam Moffett/Keith Moriarty (Ford Fiesta R5)….49mins 32secs
2. Rhys Yates/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk II)….49mins 33secs
3. Osian Pryce/Noel O’Sullivan (VW Polo GTI R5)….49mins 40secs
4. Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (VW Polo GTI R5)….49mins 45secs
5. Mark Kelly/Neil Colman (Ford Fiesta R5)….49mins 52secs
6. Desi Henry/Dale Furniss (Hyundai i20 R5)….49mins 54secs
7. Joe Cunningham/Josh Beer (Ford Fiesta)….50mins 05secs
8. James Yates/Tom Woodburn (Ford Fiesta R5)….50mins 09secs
9. Kevin Procter/Derrick Fawcett (Ford Fiesta S2000T)….50mins 14secs
10. Seb Perez/Gary McElhinney (Ford Fiesta R5)….50mins 17secs