Osian Pryce has been named as a nominated driver for the M-Sport Rally Team for the Toddsleap Rally Northern Ireland, the fifth round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.
Pryce has come to the attention of the team, headed by former British Rally Champion, Malcolm Wilson OBE, through his steady performances in the Fiesta Sport Trophy championship this year.
“It's an honour to be a named driver for M-Sport and I'm hoping we put in a good performance and the positive publicity this may bring in building my profile,” he said.
Pryce, accompanied by experienced co-driver Iestyn Williams will be driving his G&M Pryce Builders backed Ford Fiesta R2, a car in which he has only limited experience, but which he already feels comfortable with.
“The recent event in the Isle of Man that we did was great experience and a confidence builder on tarmac rally stages which is something I have little experience of, but the car handled like a dream,” he said.
Unfortunately, Pryce did not finish that event, a sheared gearbox mount ending his rally prematurely.
In the British Rally Championship, Pryce currently sits in 17th place whilst in the Fiesta Sport Trophy, he is in third place, just five points off championship leader Nick Cristofaro with Irish WRC Academy driver Craig Breen in second place.
Breen will miss the Antrim based event whilst on WRC Academy duties in Germany and Cristofaro has called an end to the 2011 season, putting his former Championship winning car up for sale due to running out of budget for the current season.
Pryce will therefore be looking to capitalise on their absence with a possible 20 points for the class winner on offer and with only 5 qualifying cars making it to the event, the lowest reward for a finish would be 15 points.
“I'm unsure what to do at the moment,” Pryce added. “ On the one hand, I need to try and score maximum points for M-Sport, but the Championship is my main focus and it may be that a steady drive would be the safer option to consolidate my position in that.”
by John Evans