Osian Pryce at John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally - preview

Osian Pryce at John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally - preview

11.08.2017: Osian Pryce has two rallies left in his British Rally Championship season – and his aim is simple: to win both of them.

Osian Pryce has two rallies left in his British Rally Championship season – and his aim is simple: to win both of them.




Next week’s penultimate round of the BRC takes crews to Londonderry/Derry for the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally. It’s in these world-class stages that Osian will have to show the kind of form which has carried him to a victory and three podiums the last three times he’s visited the event.



Osian’s season had been building momentum beautifully – he left Belgium’s Ypres Rally leading the championship and looking forward to an opportunity to build that lead with a home run on the Nicky Grist Stages.



Controlling the event from the front and ready to bring his Alphera/Hills Ford-backed Fiesta R5 home with a big points cushion at the top of the BRC table, the car was stopped by a fuel pump which seized.



Osian and co-driver Dale Furniss have put the disappointment of Wales out of their minds as they focus on the trip across the Irish Sea.



“There’s a lot riding on the Ulster,” said Osian. “I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s make or break for this season, but it’s really not far off it! Basically, we have to win here and on the final round on the Isle of Man. And that’s fine, because that’s exactly what we’re aiming to do.”



Osian has shown stunning speed, tenacity and consistency to lead the BRC in his first full year in a four-wheel drive car. But his biggest challenge lies ahead in the next two rounds.



“What happened on the Nicky Grist was gut-wrenching,” he said, “it’s something nobody had seen before. But you have to pick yourself up from there and go again. We’re 22 points off the lead, but we’ve still got a fighting chance of the title and we’re going to take it.



“The Ulster’s never a straightforward rally, but it’s one where I’ve gone well in the past and it’s an event which suits me. The weather can change the event in the blink of an eye and if you’re not on the right tyres when the rain comes or when it dries then it can be a struggle – getting those weather calls is absolutely vital for this rally.



“As we’re coming closer to the business end of the season, the competition is inevitably getting tighter. There are still a few drivers in with a shot at winning the championship and that really forces everybody on a little bit.



There’s not going to be any time to try to bed into this one, it’s going to be absolutely flat-out from the start. The plan will be to go hard from the start and take a look at what’s going on after the first loop. Like I said, we’re out for a win this time. Second place isn’t really going to be much use to us now.”




John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally



August 18/19
Based: Ebrington Square, Londonderry/Derry
Service Ebrington, Londonderry/Derry
Stages: 14
Total distance: 420.04 miles
Competitive distance: 133.90 miles




John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally Itinerary


Saturday August 18


SS1 Holly Hill 1 11.58 miles 1400
SS2 Mary Gray 1 8.36 miles 1458
SS3 Butterlope 1 4.70 miles 1538
Service Ebrington 1646
SS4 Holly Hill 2 11.58 miles 1836
SS5 Mary Gray 2 8.36 miles 1934
SS6 Butterlope 2 4.70 miles 2014
Service Ebrington 2110
Parc Fermé 2200



Sunday August 19


SS7 Slievekirk 1 8.57 miles 0743
Service Ebrington 0816
SS8 Drumnahoe 1 8.91 miles 0935     
SS9 Barnes Gap 1 8.95 miles 1011
SS10 Rousky 1 15.88 miles 1042
Service Ebrington 1213
SS11 Slievekirk 2 8.57 miles 1301
Service Ebrington 1334
SS12 Drumnahoe 2 8.91 miles 1453
SS13 Barnes Gap 2          8.95 miles 1529
SS14 Rousky 2 15.88 miles 1600
Service Ebrington 1731
Parc Fermé 1750




Osian’s five facts about Northern Ireland


Game of Thrones employs more people in Northern Ireland than the civil service.
 


Austins stood as the world’s oldest independent department store in Londonderry/Derry until 2016. Opened in 1830, it closed its doors unexpectedly last year when the costs of dealing with asbestos in the building became clear. One hundred and 86 years of continuous trading’s pretty impressive though.
 


On average, it rains 157 days of the year in Northern Ireland – so it’s a reasonable bet that, come Saturday or Sunday, you might need an umbrella. The good news is, however, that it generally snows for less than 10 days a year.
 


One woman who was happier than probably any other to see Londonderry/Derry coming into view was Amelia Earhart. Her first solo trans-Atlantic flight touched down in fields nearby in 1932.
 


One in four people in Northern Ireland is under-16. That’s more young people than anywhere else in the UK.
 



Last time…


WRC round 2/3
Neste Rally Finland
July 27-30
Based: Jyväskylä


Arrived in Finland as a man with a plan; the Poland shunt had put Osian on the back foot and in need of a finish on the fastest World Rally Championship event of the season and that’s exactly what Osian and Dale did. Fourth in WRC2 was a solid return from only their second trip to Jyväskylä.



Now…

BRC round 6/7
John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally
August 18-19
Based: Londonderry/Derry



A mainstay of the British Rally Championship, this mid-summer asphalt spectacular brings some of the UK’s best lanes – quite often in some of the wettest and trickiest conditions.




Next time… 


BRC round 7/7
138.com Rally Isle of Man
September 14-16
Based: Douglas
The Manx. If Markku Alen knows about Elibank, Ari Vatanen will never forget the Isle of Man. The world over, these stages are known, loved, loathed and respected. A brilliant way to end the BRC season.
 



The rest of 2017…


WRC round 3/3
Dayinsure Wales Rally GB
October 26-29
Based: Deeside


The final European round of the WRC takes crews through the forests of mid and north Wales, passing Osian’s front door along the way. Rain, sun, ice and even snow regularly feature to add to the challenge of one of the world’s finest motorsport events.
 



Osian Pryce – date of birth: 24.02.93



2009 Aged 16, Osian heads to Latvia to contest the Latvian Rally Championship (drivers are allowed to compete from aged 15).
 

2010 Just days after passing his driving test, Osian starts his first season of competition in the UK, driving a Ford Fiesta ST. The highlight of 2010 is a class win on his World Rally Championship debut at Rally GB.
 

2011 Stays in the Fiesta for a season learning the ropes in the British Rally Championship, the pinnacle of the sport in the UK.
 

2012 Ends his first BRC season in a front-running Citroen DS3 R3T with two podium finishes and third in the standings.
 

2013 BRC championship runner-up after a hat-trick of wins in the second half of the season.
 

2014 Just misses out on BRC title after final-round thriller.
 

2015 Steps up to Junior World Rally Championship and leads on his debut (Rally Portugal) in the sport’s premier feeder series. Finishes second on Rally Poland, having led until a mechanical problem late in the event.
 


2016 Wins the FIA World Rally Championship’s Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy with two event victories and three podiums from five starts.
 

2017 Podium on his BRC return and series debut in a Ford Fiesta R5 at the Border Counties Rally. Dominates Rally North Wales, winning every stage and then comes close to his first BRC win of the year finishing second on the Pirelli International Rally. Continues his run of podiums with second in Scotland before moving into the championship lead on his first ever visit to Ypres. Fourth in WRC2 makes for an impressive four-wheel drive debut at Rally Finland.




Ford Fiesta R5


Engine: 1600cc turbo, 32mm restrictor

Max power: 280bhp @ 6,200rpm

Transmission: Sadev five-speed sequential gearbox; Sadev front/rear differential

Suspension: Adjustable Reiger dampers; MacPherson struts front/rear

Brakes: 300mm discs four-piston calipers; hydraulic handbrake

Wheels: OZ Racing 7x15-inch

Dimensions: length 3982mm; width 1695mm; height 1481mm; wheelbase 2490mm
 



Sandra Evans- also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/osian-pryce-john-mulholland-motors-ulster-rally-preview---166864.html

11.08.2017 / MaP

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