By Paul Evans
Osian Pryce maintains his strong challenge for the 2022 British Rally Championship title after finishing runner-up in the Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally.
It was the second time in as many years that the Machynlleth-born driver had finished second on the Aberdeenshire forestry event, as he and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan enjoyed another fast and trouble-free run in their Demon Tweeks-backed Melvyn Evans Motorsport-prepared Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
As the highest placed returnee, Pryce started this year’s Grampian Forest Rally first on the road – which turned out to be a disadvantage as he swept the loose gravel off the surface in the fast and flowing Durris, Fetteresso and Drumtochty forests.
By the time the first loop of three stages had been completed, Pryce was in third position, 20 seconds behind leaders Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) and just four seconds behind Ruairi Bell/Max Freeman (Škoda Fabia R5).
With less loose gravel on the repeat runs, Pryce was able to push harder in the afternoon and was rewarded with second place at the finish when the pressure he was putting on Bell saw his rival make a time-consuming error on the sixth and final stage.
— British Rally Championship (@BRCrally) August 13, 2022
With three rounds remaining, Pryce has already dropped a score and is just 20 points behind Cronin.
Better still, round five of the 2022 British Rally Championship is the Aberystwyth-based Get Connected Rali Ceredigion (3/4 September) – an event which Pryce won when it was first run in 2019.
“It was a tough day in the office on the Grampian Rally, but I’m very pleased to come away with another strong result in second place,” said Pryce.
“We knew that being first on the road was going to be a challenge and we lost more time than we anticipated on the first pass of the stages.
“We felt a big difference on the second pass. We were able to enjoy driving a bit more and we were back on the pace.
“We achieved the best result we could have, so I cannot be disappointed – and congratulations to Keith [Cronin] and Mikie [Galvin] on their win.
Round four of the 2022 British Rally Championship in pictures..
— British Rally Championship (@BRCrally) August 15, 2022
“A big thanks to the Melvyn Evans Motorsport team for doing a great job, because the car was spot on again – and to Noel [O’Sullivan] as he did an excellent job and it’s always a pleasure to have him next to me in the co-driver’s seat.
“Thanks to everybody who supported us before and during the rally, I’m truly overwhelmed by people’s generosity.”
James Williams/Dai Roberts have shown a positive turn of pace in 2022 but have not been able to repeat their opening round podium in their Hyundai Power Products-backed Hyundai i20 R5.
Mechanical niggles prevented them challenging for victory, as they took fourth and left ruing what could have been.
Jason Pritchard made a cautious start in his North Road Garage/Get Jerky/J&S Handling-backed Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, until a spin cost him any chance of a podium finish.
Co-driven by Phil Clarke, a stall on the start line of the penultimate stage and a puncture on the last summed up Pritchard’s day, as he came home fifth.
Andy Davies and Michael Gilbey took sixth in their Fiesta as they continue to adapt to their new machine and Davies’ debut BRC campaign.
Ioan Lloyd/Sion Williams finished third in the Junior British Rally Championship category after a great run in their West Wales Rally Spares-backed Peugeot Sport 208 Rally4.
They overcame the drama of a fuel leak at the start of the event and went on to set their first JBRC fastest stage time
It wasn’t such a great rally for his Llandysul neighbour William Mains.
Co-driven by Dilwyn John, Mains retired his Vauxhall Corsa with engine failure.
Overall British Rally Championship Driver Points After Round 4:
1. Keith Cronin….88pts
2. Osian Pryce….68pts
3. James Williams….45pts
4. Jason Pritchard….31pts
5. Garry Pearson….30pts
6. Eamonn Kelly….25pts