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08/06/2012 by admin

Pritchard shines on European debut

British Rally Elite member Jason Pritchard shone on his first ever event outside of the United Kingdom when the 21 year old and co-driver Andrew Edwards set the pace on last weekends Flanders Rally in Belgium. Builth Wells resident Jason was using the rally, officially known as Omloop van Vlaanderen, as a shakedown for his brand new Citroen C2R2 Max and despite ultimately retiring after running out of time, the reigning C2R2cup champion had run inside the top twenty all event long and was leading the class when he retired.

The rally began with a 15 kilometre stage in the dark of Friday night and, although the FCS Laser Mail, North Road Garage and Competition Car Insurance supported pair opted for a cautious start, they were very pleased to end the opening day second in class, and ahead of no less than nine other Citroen C2R2 pocket rockets.

Saturday morning saw the pairing continue their impressive run until a throttle problem cost them time on the seventh stage. Jason, who built this car himself, was able to replace the offending item between stages but then suffered complete power steering failure on the very next test. A union connecting the power steering to the fluid reservoir had broken, leaking fluid everywhere. Although the problem was quickly fixed the pair had to rely on local generosity for some cooking oil to see them through the next stage and back to service. It was only upon arrival in service that Jason and Andrew were informed that their road side repairs had exceed the time allowance and the talented youngsters were out of the event.

“I’m gutted and happy in equal measures. We had no chance to test the car before the event and so to be on the pace from the word go is very pleasing. The problems we had are minor but they did cost us a finish.

I have to say a very big thank you to Christoff Dejonghe, a local navigator who helped us out enormously with tips and hints during the recce. This was a fantastic experience and we were made to feel really welcome by everyone.”

Jason and Andrew will contest the gravel based International Rally of Yorkshire in a fortnights time. The Pickering based event is the final round of the 2009 MSA British Rally Championship and Jason is still in with a strong chance of clinching Class R2 honours.

Thanks to Juha Bos of www.rallyphoto.be for the two photos