Jason Pritchard
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22/03/2019 by admin

PRITCHARD STARTS HIS TITLE DEFENCE WITH VICTORY IN EPYNT

Jason Pritchard started the defence of his Protrye Motorsport UK Rally Championship title with a victory last weekend on the Tour of Epynt.

The 30-year-old Welshman couldn’t have asked for a better start as he won the opening round of the 2019 series, Pritchard took top spot in his North Road Garage backed Ford Focus WRC05.

Weather conditions were far from perfect over the military ranges last Sunday, as drivers had to deal with heavy rain, sleet and hail throughout the day, making driving conditions difficult and the choice of tyre was causing drivers, including Pritchard, a headache throughout the rally.

You had to remind yourself that Pritchard hadn’t sat behind the wheel of his Focus since last October as he made the difficult conditions look easy. Alongside his excellent co-driver, Phil Clarke, the duo took the lead on the SS2 stage and held onto top spot until the very end, stretching their lead over their closest rivals with each stage.

The three-time British Historic Champion, who added the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship title to his trophy cabinet last year, was delighted with the strong start:

“I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt rusty at the start of the rally, the lack of seat time was quite evident in that first stage. I was selecting the wrong gear on the slow sections, I still don’t know how I didn’t stall the car! However, once we got onto stage 2, I started to become a lot more comfortable behind the wheel and my confidence grew and grew.

“Once we took the lead on stage 2, it didn’t feel like I would relinquish top spot, everything felt smooth and I was confident I could extend my lead after each stage.”

Pritchard did just that and finished 2 minutes and 13 seconds ahead of the second place car, to ensure he got his 2019 of to a winning start. Although Pritchard had to keep an eye on not only his rivals but also the sheep who would get in his way on more than one occasion:

“It’s been a great rally. A big thank you to the marshals who stood outside all day in torrential weather, it was a good slick event with no major hold ups. Well, not forgetting the sheep on the last stage! We had to stop for a large flock of sheep to cross the road, Phil reminded me to just take it easy and time was on my side. All part of the fun!

“As ever, I wouldn’t be able to do this without my sponsors: North Road Garage, Pirelli and Harkness Competition Tyres and also Phil, my family and the team who support me with the car leading up to and on the day of a rally. Thank you!”

This weekend (22nd/23rd March) Pritchard will be competing on the Legend Fires North West Stages. Which will see drivers compete on roads usually used for public. The Legend Fires North West Stages is run by Motorsport (North West) Limited and becomes only the second car rally in England to take advantage of the Road Traffic Act updated legislation.

This is a new era for British Rallying, the event has attracted top drivers and cars from all over the country and is likely to draw many spectators to the area.

Pritchard will be using the Fiesta S2000 this weekend and is hoping to follow in his Dad’s footsteps, Eian Pritchard has won this event before and finished second at the rally in 2017:

“I’m really looking forward to this event, it’s such a popular rally. I was one of the lucky ones who got selected from the 20 reserve places that organisers kept open and was delighted to find out that I had been chosen to compete.

“I’m using the Fiesta S2000 this weekend, which is a lot less powerful than the other competitors around me, but the purpose of this weekend is to go and support the event and have some fun.”