The Nicky Grist Stages last weekend was again a rollercoaster ride for several of the championship competitors in the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship with the man on home ground, Osian Pryce, missing the chance to extend his lead in the title race over Fredrik Ahlin.
It was all seemingly going to plan up until midway through the second day of action; the Welshman was leading Ahlin by a comfortable margin and although the Swede was on a charge in the CA1 Sport Skoda Fabia R5, Pryce had his sights on a victory on his home event.
However, on stage 12, it all went wrong for Pryce and he was forced to retire in the Spencer Sport Ford Fiesta R5 after a fuel pump failure and would score no points as a result. The retirement was made worse with the fact that Pryce had nominated the Nicky Grist event as his joker event where he was set to earn an extra five points if he’d gone on to win the rally on Sunday afternoon – points that could prove crucial in his bid to become BRC champion.
With Pryce’s DNF, championship rival Ahlin took full advantage and now leads the championship by 22 points with just two events left this season and is in pole position to take the 2017 championship.
Matt Edwards: Championship Contender?
With another strong performance this weekend, Matt Edwards in the Swift Group Fiesta R5 has moved up to third in the championship standings and could be an outsider to take overall honours as the championship enters the final stages.
Two second places in the last two events have pushed the young Welsh driver up the standings and he is still yet to play his joker, unlike both Pryce and Ahlin ahead of him.
But unless both of the top two hit serious issues on the last two events of the 2017 championship, his rise up the standings has probably come just a little too late for this season. However, if Edwards comes back in 2018, he is a driver who has a serious possibility of becoming a champion in Britain’s premier rally championship.
BRCJ – All Square At The Top With Two Rounds To Go
The race for the championship in the Motorsport News Prestone MSA Junior BRC couldn’t be closer with two events remaining in 2017 with both Callum Devine and William Creighton tied on 88 points. The pair has both also not played their jokers unlike third placed Meirion Evans who sits 20 points behind.
Devine is the man in form after switching to an Opel Adam R2 from the Ypres event onwards and has won the last two events, including this weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages as a result.
However, Creighton has been following closely behind taking a pair of runner-up positions on the podium behind Devine and the pair look set to take the title battle all the way to the final event in the Isle of Man in September.
The penultimate round of the 2017 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship is the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally which takes place between August 18-19.