by Geoff Mayes
Jason Pritchard proved a point on the Bulldog Clubman's Rally last weekend by taking a podium on his first ever rally in a four wheel drive rally car.
The 20-year-old is more used to challenging for class wins in his Citroen C2R2 in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship but as the MSA British Rally Elite member looks to the future he felt he needed to experience four-wheel drive rallying sooner, rather than later.
Despite minimal testing in his ex-Richard Cathcart Subaru N11, the Builth Wells based man was still pleased with eighth fastest overall on the opening run through Dyfnant, despite adopting a cautious approach.
As his confidence grew so he increased his pace, but he admitted to struggling with the organisers notes. Having spent the last two seasons making his own 'pace notes', Pritchard found it hard to trust the safety notes.
Also the youngster had to get used to a 'normal' gearbox which took a bit of time, after spending two years in the Citroen which is equipped with a sequential gearbox. Even so Pritchard and co-driver George Gwynn ran well inside the top-ten all day long as they came to grips with their North Road Garage backed Subaru Impreza, eventually returning to Oswestry with second in the production class and fourth overall.
“Wow, driving the Subaru is totally different to the C2, it was like learning to drive again. George and I agreed that we would take it cautiously so I was really pleased to see our times, especially when we compare them to the top runners in the National rally,” he reflected.
“I struggled to trust the notes but apart from that it was a great day. I'd also like to say a big thanks to Geoff Jones who has helped me a lot recently and to Hankook, the tyres were fantastic all day long.”
Pritchard now has another test planned ahead of the Tempest Rally which is the second of three rallies he is planning to contest in the Subaru before switching his attention back to the task of winning the Citroen C2R2 Cup on Wales Rally GB in December.