by Geoff Mayes
Jason Pritchard continued his steep learning curve on board his North Road Garage-backed Subaru Impreza N11 when he combated snow, ice and thick fog to end the Coniston based Grizedale Forest Stages seventh in the production class at his first attempt.
With the Grizedale Stages being just third event in the Subaru he proved that he was adjusting to the bigger four wheel drive and ran inside the top twenty all day long.
Whilst the MSA British Rally Elite member and Welshpool based co-driver George Gwynn, struggled a bit with organiser's notes they opted to tackle the event with an eye on finishing, rather than setting quick times and risk going off.
The only incident the pair had all day was when Pritchard was caught out by blinding sunlight as he exited a thick cloud of fog and slid wide into a ditch. Minimal time was lost and the pair carried on unperturbed to end the rally fourteenth overall and seventh in class.
"This was a really good rally for us as the changeable road conditions made it quite challenging. The Hankook tyres were great and gave me a lot of confidence," he reflected.
"Both George and I are now looking forward to the Wales Rally GB. It's an event I've done before and we are back in the Citroen for this one. Best of all, we get to make our own notes again."
Pritchard and Gwynn have a busy week ahead as the pair prepare for the championship showdown. Wales Rally GB marks the final two rounds for the Citroen C2R2 Cup and Jason is in the thick of a three way fight for the title. The event begins on Tuesday when the crews have two days to visit the stages and write detailed notes before the rally proper begins with a ceremonial start in Cardiff on Thursday night.
Three long and difficult days of high speed rallying over some of the best forestry roads in Wales then follow before the survivors return to Cardiff for the ceremonial finish on Sunday afternoon.