british rally championship

Home Hero Pryce Takes Severn Valley Stages Victory

Osian Pryce and Rhodri Evans upheld local honour on Saturday [April 13], powering their Ford Fiesta Rally2 to a masterful victory on a star-studded Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages.

The Welsh duo saw off an impressive William Creighton and Liam Regan for second by 20 seconds, while 2019 European Rally champion Chris Ingram and co-driver Alex Kihurani rounded out the podium places.

Sponsored by established racewear and accessory firm Rallynuts Motorsport, the Llandrindod Wells-based event celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, leading organisers Midland Manor Motor Club to pull out all the stops to offer one of the best gravel rallies in the UK for a generation.

With 62 miles of iconic stages in world-class forests Myherin, Sweet Lamb, Hafren and Sarnau, a staggering 180-car field took the start at Llandrindod Wells' Metropole Hotel & Spa including several World, European and British champions and even former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen. Legions of fans got the chance to meet their heroes at an autograph signing session as the Welsh sun set over them on Friday evening, and then flocked to the stages in their droves to witness a spectacular sporting contest unfold.

It was current British championship leader Ingram who drew first blood on the short, sharp Sarnau opener - having "the most fun I've had in years" as he pulled out an early lead over local hero Pryce. However, 2022 British champion Pryce hit back on the similarly short Tarrenig, trimming Volkswagen Polo GTI R5-mounted Ingram's advantage to just 0.4 seconds.

On stages he can call home, Pryce got the hammer down on the 9.85 miles of Myherin, outpacing Ingram to steal the rally lead. And he didn't relent, setting a scorching pace over Hafren Sweet Lamb to open up an 11.7s advantage as the crews headed back to service in Builth Wells.

Pryce made up more ground on the afternoon's opener, the repeat pass of Sarnau, as Ingram, who wasn't fully at-one with his VW in the wetter conditions, dropped off the pace; instead finding himself falling into the clutches of M-Sport pilot William Creighton who won SS5.

Starting the daunting 15.82 miles of Myherin Main just 2.3s apart, Creighton's push continued as he set another blistering time, leapfrogging Ingram into second and slimming Pryce's lead. A struggling Ingram was therefore left to just consolidate third, while out front Pryce sealed victory in style by posting the fastest time by some margin on the final Hafren Main test.

"I'm really happy to get the win today, it hasn't been easy," Pryce said. "There were some big battles with Will [Creighton] and Chris [Ingram] but we managed to get it over the line in the end.

"Over the moon to help Rhodri [Evans, co-driver] to his first win as well, he really deserves that. It's his second rally with me and his first win, but I've told him it's not always that easy!

"Thanks to the organisers for their hard work, it was a really enjoyable day."

Struggling for confidence on his first gravel outing with his new Hyundai i20 N Rally2, James Williams/Ross Whittock picked up the pace in the afternoon to climb from sixth to fourth overall at the finish. That came at the expense of M-Sport crew Garry Pearson/Daniel Barritt, who came home in fifth.

Matthew Hirst and Declan Dear scooped top Protyre BTRDA Rally Series points in their Ford Fiesta R5 as they finished first in the Interclub event. Second went the way of Robert Wilson/Martin Haggett after an entertaining all-Mitsubishi Evo battle with Russ Thompson/Stephen Link.

Hirst also scored maximum Pirelli Welsh Rally Championship points, while Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship honours went the way of Seb Perez and Gary McElhinney in their Porsche 911 Carrera RS. Second to Nick Elliott/Dave Price's Fiat 131 on the opening stage, Perez moved ahead once Elliott retired but jostled for the lead with Joe Price/Chris Brooks (Ford Escort Mk2). Eventually Perez beat his rival by five seconds. Three-time British Rally champion Mark Higgins rounded out the podium in his Triumph TR7 V8, with the returning Phil Pugh by his side.

On his first ever gravel outing, and first appearance in the UK, Jos Verstapeen - father to three-time Formula 1 world champion Max - finished a creditable 11th overall in his Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 alongside co-driver Renaud Jamoul. Finding the conditions slippier than he expected, Verstappen began to find his rhythm and improved his pace throughout the event, peaking with an 11th fastest time on Myherin Main.

"It was good but it was tough," Verstappen admitted. "Even when you have good pacenotes, with so much fog it's so difficult - especially competing on gravel for the first time. But we are happy to have finished.

"We still have a lot to learn on gravel, but I really enjoyed my time on such amazing stages."

Event sponsor Paul Bonas and co-driver Glenn Mercer also had reason to celebrate, as they guided their Subaru Impreza through seven demanding stages in one piece to take a top-10 finish in their class.

External Credits:

Severn Valley Stages/BRC


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