Welshman Osian Pryce made the perfect start to his first ever overseas World Rally Championship round in a four-wheel drive car at Rally Poland today (Thursday).
Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss completed the opening test, a 1.55-mile (2.50km) crowd-pleaser close to the rally’s hometown, fourth in the all-important WRC2 class.
Osian joins the DMACK World Rally Team alongside countryman and tonight’s overall rally leader Elfyn Evans for this week’s Mikolajki-based event. Osian’s drive aboard a Ford Fiesta R5, tuned and tended by two-time world champion team M-Sport, is his prize from winning last year’s WRC-based Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy.
After final preparations, Osian admitted he was glad to get the big event underway.
“It’s nice to get in there, get a stage done and get settled in,” he said. “The stage itself went well, I enjoyed it. It’s really only a stage for the fans this one, but it was important to make no mistakes and we did that.”
Having completed the stage, Osian and Dale headed straight for the hotel after a quick debrief with the team.
“Running as part of the DMACK World Rally Team is an incredible opportunity,” said Osian. “These boys just do things at a completely different level, it’s amazing. Dale and I haven’t had to think about anything this week; normally we can be running around like headless chickens on a rally. But here, working with a professional team that competes on 13 rounds of the world championship year-in-year-out, the difference is incredible.
“Before we’ve even started the rally, the good thing about this prize is that it gives you an insight into what’s possible with hard work, dedication and a good bit of speed. I’ve had a glimpse of life on the right side of the world championship and I like it!”
Tomorrow’s stages take Osian and the rest of the crews east of the Masurian Lake District town of Mikolajki.
“I’m really looking forward to tomorrow,” said Osian. “It’ll be interesting to see what the weather’s going to do. We had a big storm last night and a huge one earlier today which forced the organisers to cancel the ceremonial start. It was absolutely pouring down. It would be nice if it stayed dry tomorrow, there are going to be so many spectators out there at the side of the road and nobody likes standing in the rain! For me, I don’t mind, I can’t do anything to change what the weather’s going to do, so I’m not going to worry about it.”
Friday June 30
Osian’s day starts: 0700
Osian’s day finishes: 2000
Number of stages: nine
Competitive distance: 116.16km (72.18 miles)
Total distance: 585.24km (363.66 miles)
Longest stage: SS4/8 Swietajno 19.60km (12.17 miles)
Shortest stage: SS10 Super Special Mikolajki 2.50km (1.55 miles)