McKenna Doubles Up As Pryce Hits Late Trouble

by Simon Paice

Daniel McKenna made it two consecutive MSA British Rally Championship victories with a gritty victory on the RSAC Scottish Rally last weekend.

McKenna and co-driver Arthur Kierans followed up their maiden BRC success in May’s tragic Jim Clark Rally with a hard-earned win in Scotland, another battle with Osian Pryce going his way after the early event leader retired with mechanical troubles.

McKenna carded the opening stage win during Friday night’s Heathhall spectator stage, but his 1.9 second lead was quickly lost on Saturday morning’s loop of stages, as dust clouds proved to be a major factor in the dry conditions.

Pryce benefitted from being first on the road to win the first three stages of the day and build a 21.8 second advantage at the front. The Welshman lost time on SS5, giving the lead back to McKenna, and his fight back never really materialised as a gearbox problem on his Citroen DS3 R3 worsened.

Pryce Falls 20 Points Behind McKenna In Title Battle - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Pryce Falls 20 Points Behind McKenna In Title Battle – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

With Pryce forced to retire at the start of the final stage, McKenna enjoyed a comfortable run to victory on SS10, a success that moves the DS3 pilot into the championship lead, having entered the event tied on points with Pryce.

“I have to say that was a tough victory,” said the victor. “Osian kept us on our toes all day and we were playing catch up most of the morning. It’s given us a great confidence boost going into the Ulster Rally and the stages there are a lot more familiar, I’m looking forward to it.”

With Pryce out, Callum Black moved into second at the end of the rally to take his career-best BRC finish. Black ran third in his Millers Oil-backed DS3 early on with regular top three stage times, and ended up a comfortable second at the finish, albeit two minutes behind McKenna.

The battle for the final podium finish ended up featuring the fight for the BRC RallyTwo honours, between Dean Raftery and Garry Pearson. A fierce rally long duel eventually went the way of Rafferty in his Ford Fiesta R2 by just two seconds, with Pearson fourth in his new-for-2014 Peugeot 208 R2.

Gus Greensmith continued his impressive season to date with a minute victory over fellow Ford Fiesta R1 runner Jonathan Jones in the BRC3 class meanwhile, the success also giving him the MSA British Junior Rally Championship class honours.

Raftery Flew To The RallyTwo And Fiesta SportTrophy Honours - Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Raftery Flew To The RallyTwo And Fiesta SportTrophy Honours – Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Making a return to the championship meanwhile was reigning British Rally Champion Jukka Korhonen. The Finn took to the stages in Renault’s new Clio R3 model with #1 on the window, though his times were not registered to allow comparison with the dominant Citroen DS3’s.

In the NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge, Richard Sykes looked set to make it three wins in three events for the season after leading the event from the opening stage into Saturday afternoon. An unfortunate accident in his Citroen C2R2 on SS7 ended his event though.

This promoted Ross Hunter into the lead in his Peugeot 205, with a composed run over the final few stages giving him a first win of the season. Neil Matthews took second in class meanwhile after battling handling and suspension problems in his Vauxhall Nova, with those two being the only class competitors to reach the finish.

Next up for the BRC competitors is a trip across the Irish Sea for the Toddsleap Ulster Rally in August, with home driver McKenna the early favourite on the asphalt closed public roads.

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