Osian Pryce has pointed to his dramatic accident early in Rally Poland as contributing towards his steady approach during the most recent World Rally Championship 2 round in Finland, saying it made his life harder due to the conservative approach he had to take.
The Welshman rolled his Ford Fiesta R5 at high speed in the rutted Polish stages, causing such extensive damage a brand new chassis was required for Pryce to compete in Finland one month later.
The accident caused a switch in focus for the British Rally Championship regular, sacrificing ultimate pace and a potential podium to ensure he and co-driver Dale Furniss accrued as many miles as possible during the event.
“I wish we’d made a better start and not crashed in Poland,” said Pryce. “That ruined our hopes on that rally, but it also made Finland quite tough as well.
“We went to Finland on the back foot, knowing that a similar mistake and similar result would be an absolute disaster. Instead, I had to go there, take as much experience as I could, show some speed where I knew the roads from last year and, most importantly, be at the finish.”
“We were caught out and had a really big accident at high-speed. At the time, I wasn’t so worried about the consequences moving forward from that event. Dale and I had come out of the biggest crash of our careers and we were in one piece, that was the only thing that concerned me.”
Pryce’s cautious approach on his way to fourth position was down to the fast and flowing stages of the Jyväskylä-based event, its fast and fearsome reputation gaining it a nickname of the ‘Finnish Grand Prix’ in racing circles.
“I can completely understand how Finland has this reputation,” he said. “It is the fastest event in the world and it’s absolutely one to be feared; if you put a wheel out of line it’s going to bite you and being bitten at over 100mph between the trees isn’t going to be pretty.
“It’s brilliant. And it’s addictive. But at the same time, you’ve got to be absolutely inch-perfect.”
Last year’s Drive DMACK Cup champion was left in awe of the stages by the rally finish, especially given the size and frequency of jumps that litter the Rally Finland route throughout its 25 stages.
“The flying thing is incredible. With no gravel hitting the bottom of the car, everything goes that bit quieter – it’s almost serene – and you can even hear the crowds cheering on some of them! Then the madness begins again!”