Osian Pryce secured his first British Rally Championship victory since 2013 at the weekend, scooping maximum points at round five of this year’s series, the demanding Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally last weekend.
Pryce and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan took their Melvyn Evans Motorsport Volkswagen Polo GTi to a long-awaited BRC win, as teammates Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod faltered on the opening stage of the rally, eventually recovering to second place. Junior BRC frontrunners William Creighton and Liam Regan put their Ford Fiesta Rally4 on the final step of the podium after a blistering drive across the relentless Mull roads.
Steeped in history, the iconic Mull Rally is widely regarded as one of the toughest events on the British rally calendar. The small island off the west coast of Scotland is well known for its brutal stages and unforgiving schedule which sees much of the event’s 148 stage miles taking place under the cover of darkness.
But it would be the opening stage of the 17-test event that would shape the entire outlook of the weekend. Just a few corners into the marathon rally, Edwards would suffer self-confessed “brain fade” and launched his Pirelli-shod Polo off the road, losing seven minutes in the process and broke the rear suspension which he lashed together for the next stage before service.
The resultant and rather significant rear-end damage would cause further time loss for the two-time champion, leaving Pryce to open up an unassailable lead.
However, the Welshman would battle handling issues in his Michelin-backed machine throughout the weekend but managed to nurse the car through the merciless stages to secure his first BRC victory in eight years. It would also be O’ Sullivan’s maiden BRC win, further strengthening the pairings hold on the top of the championship standings with two rounds remaining.
“My heart is still somewhere in that last stage and my brain is somewhere else in the rally,” said a weary but delighted Pryce at the finish.
“We came here with a job to do, and we have made the most of the situation with full joker points [bonus scoring opportunity] as well which will make it very interesting for the championship. Work starts now for the Cambrian and Ulster [rallies], let’s hope we can keep this winning streak up.”
“Our last BRC win was in 2013 which makes me feel old, but it’s been a long time coming. We’ve had a few near misses, but to do it here on such a tough rally in such a tough way, it’s very rewarding. The championship battle is back on, let’s hope it continues.”
Edwards was left to lick his wounds from Friday night’s disaster but refused to go quietly. Mounting a Mull Rally masterclass, Edwards (above) never gave up and proved beyond doubt why his previous two titles were no fluke. The Conwy driver won an impressive eight stages, setting a string of new event stage records along the way, to climb from 142ndoverall to fifth by the end of the event.
That was enough to clinch the second BRC crew home and ensure his title hopes remain alive heading into his home round, the Cambrian Rally in a few weeks time.
|Motorsport UK British Rally Championship After Round 5|
1. Osian Pryce 96J
2. Matt Edwards 80
3. Matthew Wilson 53J
4. Rhys Yates 53J
5. Sam Moffett 37
6. Josh Moffett 24
7. Keith Cronin 22
8. Tom Cave 18
9. Seb Perez 18J
10. William Creighton 17J
1. Noel O’Sullivan 91
2. Darren Garrod 80
3. James Morgan 49
4. Keith Moriarty 37
5. Dale Furniss 28
6. Elliott Edmondson 25
7. Stuart Loudon 25
8. Andy Hayes 24
9. Mikie Galvin 22
10. Liam Regan 17