Mission accomplished with BRC victory on Mull
10 October 2021
Osian Pryce has extended his lead in the British Rally Championship to 16 points after a perfect maximum Joker bonus points score on the Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally in his Melvyn Evans Motorsport-run Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
The gamble to play his BRC Joker on an event that he’d never contested before, and on the longest and most demanding round of the series, paid off as he won his first BRC round since the Rally Isle of Man in 2014.
It was his navigator Noel O’Sullivan’s first BRC win, as he extends his lead at the top of the co-drivers’ standings.
And despite having to ease off and maintain a BRC lead for virtually all the 17 stage 148 stage mile event, Osian finished second overall behind Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (Mini WRC).
The result also preserves Osian’s incredible record of scoring a podium finish on every round of the 2021 BRC – with victory in Mull coming after second places finishes on the Grampian Rally and Trackrod Rally Yorkshire and third on both the Neil Howard and Nicky Grist Stages.
Osian’s strategy was to bed himself into the event with a risk-free start, yet after the opening 6.77 mile Mishnish Lochs test he unexpectedly found that he had a BRC lead of almost a minute – having past his title rival Matt Edwards parked on the side of the road.
By the time Osian had arrived at first service in Craignure after SS2, his BRC lead was over two minutes and with Edwards still in the event but over 13 minutes behind his only sensible option was to play it safe from then on. Which wasn’t as easy as it sounds, with 15 stages and 127 stage miles remaining and a competitive instinct to always challenge for the outright win.
Despite backing off, Osian completed the remaining three tricky Friday night stages to end Leg 1 with a 3mins 35.3secs BRC lead.
Leg 2 began in heavy rain and low cloud and whilst it did dry up later on Osian was pleased to get through the daylight stages unscathed. Tyre choice was difficult, but the soft Michelin wet tyres got him through to the end of the leg without drama. Driving slowly doesn’t come naturally, so it was a frustrating day and Osian was looking forward to the final leg where the added challenge of darkness would force him to focus on his driving.
It was a difficult job well done, however, with Osian completing Leg 2 with his BRC lead extended to 7mins 23.4secs whilst he was up to second in the overall event classifications.
At last the rain had stopped, the stars had come out and using Michelin slicks Osian continued his no-risk approach as he set off into the third and final leg of the event.
Despite Leg 3 containing the Calgary Bay/Loch Tuath test, which at 21.89 miles was the longest stage of the rally, and the very tricky 15.30 mile Glen Aros/Achnadrish sting in the tail, Osian sailed through to score his first BRC win for seven years and to secure second overall.
There were equal amounts of relief and happiness as Osian’s family joined him at the finish of the event in Tobermory to celebrate a magnificent result and a perfect BRC Joker points score.
“Mull has been a mentally draining rally more than a physical one and I’m absolutely delighted to score my first BRC victory since the 2014 Rally Isle of Man,” said Osian.
“Having never been to Mull before, I’d listened to the advice of some of the local drivers and based our game plan on what they’d told me – which was not to go full chat on the opening leg and to bed ourselves in by getting a good feel and understanding of the roads. And they were right.
“It was hard to see Matt [Edwards] stopped by the side of the road so early in the opening stage. I was looking forward to a good battle, we’d come all this way to race hard after all, but because of his misfortune that left us in a big lead of the British Rally Championship section with the entire rally still ahead of us.
“I’d have loved to have pushed on and try to challenge for the overall victory, but with maximum BRC Joker points on the line we just couldn’t risk it.
“The hardest thing is the huge effort that everyone puts in to get us to an event like Mull. When you find yourself in a situation like that you just have to bring the car home. But to keep focused on the job in hand, especially in the middle of the night when I really would have loved to have a proper go, wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
“That said, I’m pleased I’ve done the job and pleased I took the gamble and played the BRC Joker because the plan worked in our favour. It’s the perfect points score and it’s extended our lead in the championship.
“Roll on the next event and let’s see if we can keep this winning momentum going. We’ve been chipping away trying to achieve this result for some time. We came close in 2017, so it’s nice to finally get a BRC win after seven years. Let’s hope it’s not another seven years until the next one!”
The next round of the British Rally Championship is the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally on Saturday 30 October.
Osian is supported by Rocked-!T (helmet bag and custom made accessory case manufacturer), Liqui Moly (oils, lubricants and additives), LM Performance (Liqui Moly distributors), Auto Glanz (car care, detailing products, car cleaning kits and car wax), Omologato (motorsport watches), Michelin (tyres), Custom Fasteners (fasteners, fixings, nuts and bolts), The Forest Experience (rally school and test venue), DL Jones Wales Ltd (coach and taxi hire), (G+M Pryce (family-run building specialists), Hockly Motorsport (motorsport specialists) and Demon Tweeks, who has supplied Osian and Noel with their Bell helmets and OMP race suits.
British Rally Championship – overall Drivers’ points after Round 5
1. Osian Pryce….96(J)pts
2. Matt Edwards….80pts
3. Matthew Wilson….53(J)pts
4. Rhys Yates….53(J)pts
5. Sam Moffett….37pts
6. Josh Moffett….24pts