British Rally Championship title fight to go to the wire – Noel O’Sullivan still leads with one round to go

  • Osian Pryce takes his second British Rally Championship victory in a row with a crucial win at the Cambrian Rally
  • British Rally Championship title fight goes down to the wire at the final round
  • Double British champion Edwards suffers off-road excursion but keeps his Polo GTi going with roadside repairs
  • Garry Pearson and Niall Burns become National Rally Title champions with another scintillating drive
  • William Creighton takes his fourth Junior BRC win of the season to take the title fight to the Ulster Rally

Osian Pryce put himself firmly in the pound seat in the race for the 2021 Motorsport UK British Rally Championship title after storming to a Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally victory on Saturday [30 October].

Pryce and co-driver Noel O’Sullivan took their Melvyn Evans Motorsport Volkswagen to their second BRC win of the season thanks to a faultless drive in the infamous north Wales stages. Leading from the opening stage, the duo would never be knocked off top spot, taking their Michelin shod Polo GTi to back-to-back wins.

Seb Perez and Gary McElhinney upheld M-Sport honours by taking their maiden BRC podium in second place, driving their Pirelli rubbered Fiesta Rally2, whilst two-time event winner and BRC title rivals Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod endured another tough weekend to take third after a nail-biting final loop.

World-class stages, famous for hosting the World Rally Championship crews on Wales Rally GB were likely to test the BRC regulars to the limit thanks to the unforgiving and slippery nature of the north Wales forests. Based at the seaside town of Llandudno, the event also offered a unique twist to the format thanks to a brand new closed-road asphalt stage to round out proceedings.

Four drivers would head into the weekend still in with a chance of the title but after 44 miles of blistering stage action, that would be down to just two. Double British champion Edwards would start the event as arguably the pre-event favourite and the Conwy driver would sensibly elect to play his Joker card for the chance of bagging up to five additional points on his home round. But Pryce stole the march with the fastest time over the opener and despite an initial fightback from teammate Edwards, Pryce had full command all rally long.

“Of course, it’s never nice to see your rival with issues [Edwards] but I`m delighted with the win today,” said Pryce.
“I think we did all we needed to do this morning really. We built up that buffer on the opening stage and that was really important seeing how the day panned out. We didn’t think it would be easy at all, but we have just done exactly what we have been doing all year and stayed out of trouble.”

“We knew we needed to win here and now it all goes down to the Ulster.”

Behind Pryce, the drama unfolded with Edwards struggling for grip in the tricky conditions. A ten-second deficit was reduced to six by the third test and it was set to be another impressive battle between the stablemates. But Edwards was launched off the road after a compression in the fourth stage and would lose over 1m40 effecting repairs to the Polo to ensure he could continue.

A broken front right-hand side track control arm was the culprit and with no service, Edwards would be using every opportunity on the road sections to try and stabilise the car. In a nail-biting final loop, Edwards would do enough to crawl through the remaining three stages and salvage enough points to take the championship title fight to the final round, the Modern Tyres Ulster Rally in November.

Seb Perez endured a tough day behind the wheel but was able to enjoy the best BRC result of his career with second place in his Fiesta Rally2. Contesting his first British Championship campaign, Perez had limited knowledge of the Cambrian stages but dealt with the challenging tests perfectly.

Hankook backed Keith Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin struggled to find the sweet spot in their Fiesta Rally2 to take fourth in BRC1. A puncture hampered progress through the day to finish almost seven minutes behind the winner. Ashley Dickson and Emily Easton-Page took the NRC7 class win in their Fiesta as the new pairing stayed largely out of trouble in the unforgiving stages.

It would be an early bath for M-Sport’s Matthew Wilson and Elliott Edmondson after hitting a large amount of standing water on the very first stage, forcing their Fiesta Rally2 out and along with it, any hopes of taking the BRC title.

The British Rally Championship now heads across to Northern Ireland as the final round of the 2021 season and race for the British and Junior titles will play out across the demanding Modern Tyres Ulster Rally closed roads around Newry in November.

Motorsport UK British Rally Championship Points – Overall After Round 6
1.    Osian Pryce                 106J
2.    Matt Edwards              98J
3.    Matthew Wilson          53J
4.    Rhys Yates                    53J
5.    Sam Moffett                 37
6.    Seb Perez                     36J
7.    Keith Cronin                32
8.    William Creighton       29J
9.    Josh Moffett                 24
10.  Tom Cave                     18

1.    Noel O’Sullivan          101
2.    Darren Garrod           95
3.    James Morgan            49
4.    Keith Moriarty            37
5.    Gary McElhinney        35
6.    Mikie Galvin                32
7.    Liam Regan                 29
8.    Dale Furniss                28
9.    Elliott Edmondson     25
10.  Stuart Loudon            25


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