Wed 14 Dec 2022

British champion Pryce considering ERC step up

An FIA European Rally Championship debut could be on the cards for Osian Pryce as the Welshman looks to move forward in 2023.

Pryce has spent the past few seasons fighting at the sharp end of the British Rally Championship (BRC) leaderboard and, earlier this year, he finally secured the coveted title aboard a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. 

The 29-year-old is keen to continue his upward trajectory - and that could mean several outings within the ERC’s top flight during 2023. 

“Winning the British Championship was something I’ve been trying to do for a while,” said Pryce, who works in his family’s construction firm. “Obviously I’ve ticked that box now, so the question I’m kind of left with is what am I going to do next?

“It’s a bit of a tricky situation because I’ve been around the BRC for so many years, but I think it’s time for me to step into something new, really. I’d like to move forward and keep going, and the ERC looks very, very attractive. 

“It follows a similar sort of concept to the WRC - there’s some good competition, some nice rallies and it’s kind of got everything. Of course, WRC is always the aim, but you’ve got to be realistic.

“Where the ERC really ticks the boxes is that the R5 and Rally2 cars are the main category in every rally, so you can get some really good coverage up at the front,” he added. 

Despite competing at national level in recent years, Pryce is no stranger to international circles. He won the Drive DMACK Cup - a former junior class within the WRC - in 2016 and finished fourth overall in WRC2 at Rally Finland the following year. 

It’s no surprise, then, that events such as Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas - which uses roads Pryce is somewhat familiar with - have grabbed his attention. 

“There are some rallies out there that are quite decent levellers,” he explained. “It’s like anything, really - if you’ve been there before, it’s got to be an advantage.

“If I’m being honest, I’ve never competed in any of these events before, but there are quite a few similarities. I’ve been to Fafe, albeit in an R2 car, but even just having been there and knowing the terrain is a distinct advantage. 

“At certain rallies like that, I’d like to think we’d be somewhere near the front. I know it’s another level and there are guys who have been doing it year-on-year, but I’d like to see what we can do.”

So, will we see Osian Pryce on the start line in March? It’s certainly a high possibility. For now, though, the man from Machynlleth has some work to do. 

Only two British drivers have managed to clinch the overall ERC title in the championship’s 69-year history: they were Vic Elford in 1967 and Chris Ingram in 2019. 

“It’s still early days and we’ll just have to see how we go,” he continued. “There’s a lot of work to do and a lot of people to talk to, to see if we can raise the budget.

“We don’t have to do the whole season - even if we just did three or four, if we broke everything down and said ‘okay, that’s what we’re going to focus on’ - maybe that would be more realistic. 

“It’s not easy. I think it’s a case of planning to do a couple of rallies rather than saying we’re going to do the whole lot. I think it’ll pay off that way, instead of taking on too much.” 

Images: BRC

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