by Geoff Mayes
British Rally Elite member Jason Pritchard showed how rapidly he is adjusting to a four wheel drive machine with over double the horsepower that he is used to when he put in a faultless drive to eighth overall and fourth in class on last weekends Tempest Rally.
Based in Aldershot, a mere 30 miles from London, the 2008 Suzuki Tempest Rally attracted a strong quality of entries. And to ensure that all the competitors were challenged to the max the weather was atrocious all day long, alternating between fierce sunlight and heavy showers of rain.
Not only was this the second rally in a four wheel drive for Jason but the final loop of stages would be run in the dark, good practice for Wales Rally GB next month, but still a massive challenge for the 20 year old.
A cautious start to the rally saw Jason and co-driver George Gwynn down in twenty fifth overall after the opening test. However the young Welshman gradually upped his pace and by stage four, Yateley 1, Jason was setting top ten times. With each stage used twice Jason showed how his confidence had grown.
On the second run through Ash he hustled the North Road Garage backed Subaru Impreza through an incredible 53 seconds faster than on his first pass! Times like this were good enough to move the youngster up into the top ten overall for the second time in as many rallies.
"The day went really well," he said. "I am still adapting to the car and it showed in the morning, as I struggled to get around the chicanes. The Impreza was faultless all day and as my confidence built I was happy to push harder… but we nearly over cooked it at a tightening bend on the very last stage! Now I'm really looking forward to the Grizedale Stages."
Jason and George have a very busy couple of weeks coming up as the pair prepare to tackle the Grizedale Stages in the Subaru Impreza on Saturday 29th November before travelling to Swansea immediately after to begin preparations for the title deciding Wales Rally GB, an event they will contest in their North Road Garage supported Citroen C2R2.