Welsh crew Osian Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss made history yesterday (Sunday 8 September) when they won the first ever stage rally held on closed public roads in Wales, the Get Connected Rali Bae Ceredigion. They took the lead on stage two and, after a day-long battle with fellow countrymen Tom Cave and Dale Bowen, they crossed the line to take victory by seven seconds.
With Aberystwyth and Cardigan Bay bathed in sunshine, the field of 120 cars left the start outside the National Library of Wales. From this point, crews faced four stages across the Cambrian Mountains in the morning and the same loop of four in the afternoon, punctuated by a halftime service halt at Aberystwyth University, the host venue for the rally.
Pryce took the lead in stage two, the fast and challenging Spencer Nant-y-Moch, and never looked back. Tom Cave and Dale Bowen struggled with brake issues in their Hyundai R5, while in third place Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke were getting to grips with their loaned Ford Escort Mk2 and thoroughly enjoying the experience.
It was clear from the smiling faces that competitors were relishing their first taste of Welsh closed road stage rallying, with drivers and co-drivers reporting the character of the twisty and undulating roads across the Ceredigion Hills meant it was the ‘busiest’ they had ever been inside the car.
For the organisers, what had started out as an idea more than 18 months ago, had now become a reality and they were understandably delighted by the feedback received from competitors. The organisers were also pleased to see the 1000s of spectators watching from the three specially allocated Fan Zones, to have provided live broadcast coverage throughout the event and hosted sponsors and guests in a purpose-built hospitality area overlooking the Nant-y-Moch reservoir.
Osian enthused: “I didn’t expect this at all and it’s awesome to win this historic event. The plan was just to get to the finish but to have been locked in a battle with Tom (Cave) all day and to come out on top has been brilliant. It takes time to settle into a car like this so we’re really pleased with the result. The event was just fantastic and the way it ran is a credit to everyone involved.”
1 Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss (Hyundai R5) 42m44.2s
2 Tom Cave / Dale Bowen (Hyundai R5) 42m51.9s
3 Jason Pritchard / Phil Clarke (Ford Escort Mk2) 45m13.8s
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