Osian Pryce

Osian Pryce won Rali Ceredigion in his VW Polo. Pic: Black Mountains Media

Osian Pryce Reminds Us Why He’s A True Champion By Winning Rali Ceredigion

s4c

By Paul Evans

Osian Pryce reminded fans why he is the reigning British rally champion by winning the biggest and most prestigious rally in the UK – the 2023 JDS Machinery Rali Ceredigion.

It was the second time that the 30-year-old Machynlleth-born driver had won the close road stage event, having clinched victory there in 2019.

As well as being presented with the wonderful winning Rali Ceredigion event trophies, Pryce also took home the top-placed Tour European Rally silverware.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, as Pryce overshot a junction on the opening stage and stalled the engine of his Melvyn Evans Motorsport-prepared Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

Co-driven by Stéphane Prévot, the fastest time on the next four out of five stages were to prove decisive, as Pryce took and then opened up a healthy lead.

It had been a calculated flat-out blast to gain an advantage, but one not without risk as a fifth gear brush with a hedge on SS4 proved how committed Pryce was.

But the plan to push hard on day one worked, for after the runs through the two Aberystwyth street stages Pryce entered the overnight halt with an impressive 42.7 second lead.

Victory was his to lose on day two, which with six demanding stages – including the spectacular signature Nant y Moch test, named after the reservoir the stage ran alongside – wasn’t the easiest of rally days to survive unscathed.

Yet Pryce controlled the pace at the front magnificently, setting fastest time on the penultimate stage to show everyone that he was in complete control of the situation.

His winning margin at the end of the 14 stage/100 stage mile event was 22.9 seconds.

“I’m delighted to win Rali Ceredigion for a second time, because it’s such a challenging event and the biggest and best rally in the UK,” said Pryce.

“We had a great opening day and all the hard work was done then.

“To have such a big lead overnight wasn’t in the script at all.

“A few of the top crews had a problem on the first day, myself included, but we came out on top and from then on it was a case of managing the situation.

“It was hard going into the final day of the event with such a big lead.

“I’d rather be in a fight and fully committed because starting day two I knew that victory was there for us to lose.

“That’s why we had a bit of a push on the penultimate stage, just to make sure what we were doing was right and we weren’t easing off too much.

“That said, on the last stage we were very cautious!

“We had enough of a buffer by then and I wasn’t too fussed about how many seconds we won by, just so long as the win came!

“It’s good to get back on the horse properly and to get my mojo back.

“It’s been a hard slog raising the funds needed to go rallying this year and now everything feels worth it.

“It’s nice to have so many local businesses on the car – they’ve made this event possible and this win’s for them.

“I’d also like to thank the rally organisers for putting on such a world class event, the marshals for keeping the rally running so smoothly and the thousands of spectators that came to watch – it was really great to see so many people out enjoying the event.

“And a big thank you to the legend that is Stéphane Prévot for doing such a magnificent job in the co-driver’s seat.”

Meirion Evans led after the opening stage in another Volkswagen Golf Polo GTI R5, but lost 40 seconds with a puncture on SS2.

Co-driven by Jonathan Jackson, the Lampeter driver fought back brilliantly from seventh to finish second.

James Williams recovered from sliding off the road at a greasy hairpin on SS2, where spectators had to come and push his Hyundai i20N Rally2 out of a field, to finish third and first of the registered British Rally Championship contenders.

Co-driven by Dai Roberts, it was the Newcastle Emlyn’s driver’s maiden BRC victory.

Callum Black/Jack Morton finished fourth overall to secure the 2023 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship title in their Ford Fiesta Rally2.

Kevin and Owain Davies rebounded from a big off last time out on the Manx National to come home seventh in their Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, while John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones completed the top 10 in their fabulous Darrian T90 GTR+.

Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams finished a magnificent 11th overall in their West Wales Rally Spares-backed Peugeot 208 Rally4 – the Llandysul youngster scoring his maiden Junior BRC victory on home soil.

And in appreciation for all the unpaid work that the marshal did on the event, Lloyd was handing out Lottery tickets with a hand-written thank you on them!

Elfyn Evans was at the event on Saturday (before flying to Rally Greece) to cheer on his father Gwyndaf.

Unfortunately the gearbox failed on day one, but Evans Snr. got going again for day two for him and co-driver Peredur Davies to entertain the large crowds.

Former World rally champion Phil Mills was driving a Viking Motorsport built Ford Escort Mk1 Twin Cam, which ran on biofuel.

Co-driven by his son Iwan, he finished a very respectable 55th overall and ninth in the historic class.

This year’s Rali Ceredigion, which was a carbon neutral event having offset 100% of its CO2 emissions, was a huge success.

It is now hoped it can be a part of the FIA European Rally Championship in 2024.

s4c

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *