Osian Pryce has made the perfect start to his British Rally Championship campaign by winning the opening round of the 2022 series, the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton last weekend in his Demon Tweeks-backed Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
And what’s even more encouraging is that his strongest rallies – events where he has more experience and that contain the type of stages that better suit his driving style – are still to follow.
Co-driven by Noel O’Sullivan, Osian (above) made a solid start on Saturday night’s two short stages along the Clacton-on-Sea promenade, reaching the overnight halt in fourth place, just two seconds off the lead.
Twelve stages followed on Sunday, with three loops of four stages run over nearby closed public roads, where Osian picked up the pace and moved into third place after SS4.
The Melvyn Evans Motorsport team adjusted the Polo GTI R5’s suspension in service, which gave Osian the confidence to push for victory.
He closed in on leaders Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) and in an exciting battle took the lead on SS12 – extending a 0.5 second advantage to a 5.4 second winning margin over the final two stages. It was the 2017 BRC champ Cronin who took the second spot in the Hankook backed Polo with James Williams/Dai Roberts rounding out the podium in their Hyundai i20 after a confidence-boosting weekend.
Winning the Corbeau Seats Rally Tendring & Clacton rally at his first attempt was a magnificent achievement – made even more remarkable by the fact that Osian only used four medium compound Michelin tyres throughout the 63-stage mile event.
“I’ve made slow starts in the British Rally Championship before which has immediately put me on the back foot, so this time I was determined to start well. I’m really chuffed that we managed to nail it and that everything went to plan,” said Osian.
He now begins the series with a seven points lead over Keith Cronin, who was second at the weekend.
Round 2 of the British Rally Championship is the Beatson’s Building Supplies Jim Clark Rally, a two-day closed-road event based in Duns, on 27 & 28 May.