PRYCE LEADS CITROËN 1-2-3 AT BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP OPENER
May 8, 2014 by Andrew Bushe
It was a clean sweep of podium finishes for Citroën in the opening round of the MSA British Rally Championship – the Pirelli Carlisle Richard Burns Foundation Rally. Welshman and pre-event favourite, Osian Pryce was the victor, ahead of Daniel McKenna and David Carney.
The 1600 cc turbocharged DS3 R3 was once again all-conquering and of the seven that started this tough two-day foray through the border forests, only one failed to finish and that wasn’t due to mechanical issues.
The C2 R2 Max also proved itself, with Richard Sykes taking victory in the Challenge section, so there was much to celebrate for Citroën at the Carlisle town centre finish ramp.
Twenty-one-year-old Osian Pryce and his co-driver, Dale Furniss, had the most to celebrate as the duo took a commanding 46-second victory, securing the fastest times on nine of the ten stages. “Everything went to plan for us and we are delighted. I haven’t had the best of luck on this event in the past, so it was great to get this victory.
The stages were in excellent shape and we had no real issues over the two days, just having to pace ourselves to keep Daniel McKenna behind us” commented Osian. They claimed first prize in the Citroën Racing Trophy UK.
On his first gravel rally in a DS3 R3, Pirelli Star Driver, Daniel McKenna, took a hard-earned second place. The Irish driver and his co-driver Arthur Kierans took one fastest time along the way, when Osian Pryce eased the pace a little too much.
On the tenth and final stage, the pairing had some drama with a suspected puncture, but an inspection at the end of the test revealed that all four tyres where intact. The problem was later thought to be a transmission issue and the duo held on to make the finish ramp and take a fine second place. “I’m pretty happy with the way things went” said Daniel.
“Osian was the pace-setter in the second half of last season and we were reasonably close to him, on our first time on gravel in the DS3. I can see from his wheel-tracks, lines and braking marks on the stages some things we have to do to get up onto his pace, so hopefully we can get up there for the next gravel round.”
They may have been almost five minutes behind McKenna, but another Irish pairing – that of David Carney and Ray Fitzpatrick – took the final podium position, making another great gravel debut in a DS3 R3. Indeed the only gravel mileage the Mayo driver had in the car before the rally was on the pre-event shakedown, so there were still set up adjustments being made during the event.
For Callum Black and James Morgan, it was a case of what could have been. They were holding third position until they slid off the road and into retirement on a left hander on the penultimate stage.
Bad luck also struck Timothy Cathcart and Dai Roberts; a puncture on day one necessitated a tyre change mid-stage and, as they re-joined, their windscreen was smashed by a rock from the car in front. On the opening stage of day two a turbo pipe came adrift and more time was lost, relegating them to seventh at the finish.
One place ahead was James Ford and Michael Gilbey who, as always, thoroughly enjoyed their rallying. Their event wasn’t without drama, as they suffered a number of minor off-road moments, but the DS3 proved reliable as they claimed sixth place.
The series now moves to the closed road tarmac stages of the Jim Clark Rally in Scotland on 30-31 May.
It is predicted to be a great race between Pryce, who won on the tarmac Ulster Rally last year, and McKenna, who excels on closed road events. There is also the possibility of a return to competition for the 2013 British Champion and Citroën Racing Trophy UK winner, Jukka Korhonen.
Citroën finishing positions in the Pirelli Carlisle Richard Burns Foundation Rally
1 Osian Pryce Dale Furniss Citroën DS3R3T 1h 25m 26.4s
2 Daniel McKenna Arthur Kierans Citroën DS3R3T +46.0s
3 David Carney Ray Fitzpatrick Citroën DS3 R3T +5m36.2s
6 James Ford Michael Gilbey Citroën DS3 R3T +9m34.1s
7 Timothy Cathcart Dai Roberts Citroën DS3 R3T +10m25.3s