2014 MSA British Rally Champion Daniel McKenna, runner-up Osian Pryce and RallyTwo victor Dean Raftery are looking to competing on Wales Rally GB next weekend, after receiving free entries for the event as part of the championship’s ‘Road to Wales’ campaign.
While McKenna and Raftery will both tackle the Llandudno-based event in the same cars they campaigned in the 2014 BRC, a Citroen DS3 R3 and Ford Fiesta R2 respectively, Pryce is trading in his DS3 for an M-Sport run Ford Fiesta R5.
The 21 year old will be making his competitive four-wheel drive rally debut in his home Welsh forests, and the two-time BRC runner-up is looking forward to tackling the event in the 280bhp Fiesta.
“This is the next step for me,” said Pryce. “I’ve been waiting so long for an opportunity like this and, to be honest, I still can’t believe it’s happening. This is what I dreamed of when I was a child – to drive a car like this on Britain’s biggest rally.
“What I have to do now is make sure I do it justice and make the most of this incredible opportunity. The objective for me is to gain as much experience of the car as possible and to improve my pace as the rally unfolds.”
Champion McKenna will be taking on the WRC season closer for a second time, after making their debut on the event twelve months ago as the 2013 BRC RallyTwo champions alongside Arthur Kierans.
“It means a lot to me to be back on a world championship event,” McKenna enthused. “I’ve gained a lot of experience and mileage in the last twelve months as Pirelli Star Driver, be that tyre development or direct competition and I’ve grown to really enjoy driving the DS3.”
The 27 year old sees the event as a prime opportunity to test himself against the current Junior World Rally Championship competitors as he works on finding the budget required to join them next season.
“I’m determined to progress in the sport and I see the JWRC as the next logical step for me,” he added. “My goal in Wales is to try and get up to the pace of the current JWRC regulars. It’ll be a stern task but that’s the level that I’m aspiring to and it’s where I need to prove myself.”
For Raftery, embarking on Wales Rally GB will be the biggest challenge of his career to date in his fourth season of rallying. With experienced WRC co-driver Karl Atkinson alongside him, the 23 year old is looking forward to pitting himself against more experienced R2 class rivals.
“I think the whole experience will be pretty overwhelming to be honest. It’s not every day you compete alongside the quickest drivers in the world,” he said.
“It’s a great way to see what pace I have against the foreign entrants who have much more experience at this level than I do. It will important to keep my head and retain the focus needed for all three days as stamina will certainly come into play. I’m looking forward to seeing how we get on.”