Upcoming Welsh rally driver Osian Pryce is set to give the new VR4K Oreca FIA R4-spec rally car its international competition debut this weekend as he heads to the Rallye Ciudad de Granada with ASM Motorsport.
Dale Furniss will team up with Pryce again, navigating in the Toyota Etios R4 on the Spanish gravel rally, marking their first overseas gravel rally since finishing fourth in the M-Sport Fiesta R5 at the 2017 Rally Finland.
Pryce and Furniss were in action in a Mitsubishi Mirage R5 in the Cambrian Rally in February but since then have only competed in a handful of events in a Ford Escort RS 1800 MKII.
ASM Motorsport who will be running the car are keen to develop R4 cars in a bid to fill the void between the lower-powered R2 rally cars and the four-wheel drive R5 cars.
“It’s nice to be asked to give the R4-spec car its world competition debut, and it’s come at the right time for me as I’ve been working hard on getting back to four-wheel drive international competition.” said Pryce.
“I visited the ASM Motorsport headquarters last week to see the car in the workshop, and my first impressions were extremely good. When you sit in the driver’s seat, everything feels just right and you can instantly tell it’s a very cleverly designed and extremely well engineered car.
“It feels very driver friendly inside the cockpit, with a good interface on the dash – you just sink into the car and it immediately feels part of you.
“It really looks like it has all the ingredients to be a very good and competitive car.
“I’m looking forward to driving the R4-spec car for the first time, but that won’t be until the official rally shakedown on Friday. We hope to do as many passes over the shakedown stage as possible to get used to the car as best we can in such a short space of time.
“The event itself will be a good challenge, as are all the Spanish Gravel Championship rounds. The stages look to be more twisty and technical rather than high speed, so it will be extremely interesting to see how the R4-spec car compares to the more powerful, and more expensive, cars around us.
“It’s about sixteen months since our last overseas gravel rally in a four-wheel drive car, so Dale and I are super excited to be out competing on the international stage once again – especially as we’ll be making rally history by giving the R4-spec car its world competition debut.”
Álex Sabater, CEO of ASM Motorsport added “The world competition debut of the FIA R4-spec car is a very important step in the evolution of the new category and our new R4 Rally Cars Division.
“We are delighted to have Osian Pryce drive the car on the Rallye Ciudad de Granada.”
The event kicks off on Friday with a recce featuring one pass over each stage before a ceremonial start and the first of nine stages in the evening; the remaining eight stages will take place on Saturday.