SIX fastest times on all of the event's six stages and the consequential convincing victory provided the perfect outcome for Osian Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss driving Llandysul’s Spencer Sport Fiesta R5 on Rally North Wales.
Seeded at number one, it was clear from the start that the pairing from Machynlleth and Llanfyllin respectively, would be the crew to beat on their home event.
Even after finishing on the podium two weeks previously at the Border Counties Rally, it was decided that Osian and Dale should enter this Dolgellau-based event in order to gain additional seat time and to become more familiar with the Spencer Sport prepared Fiesta in their bid to win this year's Prestone MSA British Rally Championship title.
Osian added that it had been his aim to contest his most local rally with number one on the door – and to try to win it too!
With weather in the Gartheiniog and Dyfi woodlands more in keeping with conditions usually found in a monsoon-struck tropical rain forest – but without the equatorial temperatures – the first of the day's six stages was a challenge, especially for Welsh pair as they were first car on the road.
Although they were cutting the tracks for the following crews, their advanced position did nothing to stem their pace and they emerged from SS1 with an impressive 19-second lead.
As conditions eased slightly, they extended their advantage over the next two stages in the Dyfi Forest to lead by 52 seconds when they arrived at the halfway service halt. For the Spencer Sport team there was little servicing to do and a check-over, top-up of fuel and a quick wash was all the car required.
The earlier rain coupled with the 100-plus field having been through the stages on their first run had, according to Osian, the effect of 'polishing' the surface of the forestry roads. Even so, he and Dale's trio of fastest stage times earlier was repeated. The upshot of this perfect performance provided Osian, Dale and the Spencer Sport team with a winning margin of 1m 13s.
Following the rally Osian said: "This has been a perfect day for us. It's great to have won my home rally. It feels like it's been a long time coming! After a couple of small tweaks to the car's set up before the event, it felt fantastic to drive and never missed a beat. I even enjoyed being first on the road.
"The Dmack Tyres worked well in all conditions. In fact, we only used one set all day, which shows how well they stayed in spec. After a day like this I feel more confident with the car than I did a couple of weeks ago. However, I know there's even more to come, which is very encouraging and sets us up well for the second round of the British Rally Championship, the Pirelli Rally at the end of the month."
Teammates James Williams of Cenarth and Dale Bowen in the Spencer Sport run R2 Fiesta – also taking part in Rally North Wales in order to gain more experience in between BRC rounds – drove an excellent first stage that saw them gain 14 places on their seeding and placed second in class. However, they were caught out by the tricky conditions in stage two and slid off the road in a particularly boggy spot.
Their lengthy delay meant they were out of the running in terms of results, but a determined drive for the remainder of the rally saw them regularly post top-three stage times in their class.
Even with a concern about a slight loss of power, they took many positives away from the event in doing so, were pleased with the experience and renewed their driver/co-driver partnership from last year's Rally Isle of Man in the process.