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R5 specification Mitsubishis 1st and 2nd in British Rally Championship National Cup

7th March 2016

Driving an R5 specification Mitsubishi for the Spencer Sport rally team, Osian Pryce and co-driver Dales Furniss won the opening round of the BRC National Rally Cup on this weekend’ (5th & 6th March) Mid Wales Stages. In doing so, the Welsh crew also finished an impressive fifth overall in the MSA British Rally Championship event against tough opposition.

Taking second place in the National Rally Cup category were Robert Blomberg and Lars Andersson from Sweden, making it a one-two for the MPart AB built Mitsubishis.

The event started and finished in Newtown in the centre of Wales and featured two stages in the dark on Saturday evening with a further four in daylight on Sunday. The forests that were used for all of the rally’s six stages were to prove to be a challenge for the 66 crews, as the snow that had fallen leading up to the event had remained on the higher ground, together with icy patches that had formed on the gravel roads.

Pryce and Furniss set a blistering pace right from the start and ended the evening in third place overall, followed by the other Spencer Sport car of Jamie Jukes/Dave Williams in second and Blomberg/Andersson in the O’Leary’s sponsored car in third. Consequently, at the overnight halt, R5 Mitsubishis held the top three places in the National Rally Cup.

The snow and ice remained in place at the top of the mountains for the four Sunday stages, although crews reported it was a little easier to deal with this time as at least they could see where it was. However, that didn’t help Jukes and Williams, when they were caught out by the conditions on a downhill section in stage three, their Mitsubishi ending its rally in a ditch.

Pryce and Furniss also left the road on SS3 – albeit at a different location – but powered on to set the second-fastest overall time through the stage.  Whilst they held onto third place following SS4, as they consolidated their lead in the National Rally Cup they were overhauled by two crews chasing BRC positions and consequently, they ended the rally in a highly credible place fifth overall. It was an excellent result against some of the top teams in the UK, as well as a number of overseas entries.

Blomberg said he had never experienced conditions like it and was used to either snow or gravel in his native Sweden and not an unpredictable mixture of both at the same time! He and Andersson were delighted to get to the finish and claim second place in the National Rally Cup – making it an R5 specification Mitsubishi one-two.

“I’m very pleased with the result”, said Pryce at the finish. “I haven’t enjoyed a rally as much as this for a long time and it was great to be on the pace of the front-runners throughout the event. I think we’ve proved that the Mitsubishi can be a really competitive car in the UK and I look forward to driving it again very soon.”