Pryce Extends Trophy Lead With Deutschland Win

Pryce Extends Trophy Lead With Deutschland Win

Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy series leader Osian Pryce was an asphalt ace as he cruised to victory at ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss were wire-to-wire winners in Germany, claiming the first two stages and never looking back as their hopes of lifting the 2016 Trophy were given a massive boost.

For the Welsh wonders it was their second series win of the campaign after tasting success at the season-opener in Portugal. And with just one round of the championship to go, 23-year-old Pryce and Furniss, 28, are in pole position to claim the title. In addition the duo have already landed one pair of 2017 WRC 2 prize drives as the top points-scorers for rounds one and two.

Rallye Deutschland, based in Trier and one of the most fearsome events in the WRC calendar, lived right up to its formidable reputation. There were plenty of thrills, spills and mishaps for the eight Trophy crews as they tackled varied and volatile roads in changeable weather conditions. They also needed to be alert and make calculated decisions on how best to use their DMACK DMT-RC tyres at what is the only all-Tarmac round of the year.

Building on a terrific triumph in his native Finland last time out, Max Vatanen was the runner-up in Germany after a consistent weekend. He is second overall in the championship standings on 84 points - 14 adrift of Pryce. Vatanen, 25, along with co-pilot Maxime Vilmot, won three stages in Germany, and was never outside the top four as he brought superior knowledge to the fore in what is his third season of Trophy competition.

Northern Ireland's Jon Armstrong won five stages as he took the final podium place after a mixed weekend. The 21-year-old, the overall winner at PZM Rally Poland last month, had a heavy shunt during stage two on Friday. He then lost more than three minutes following a puncture on Saturday. Armstrong is third in the latest Trophy table, 16 points behind Vatanen.

It was also tough going at Rallye Deutschland for his fellow Brit, Gus Greensmith. The 19-year-old Englishman retired early on Friday after a crash, but did show good pace at times and netted back-to-back stage wins on Saturday as he built up his experience.

Things had been going smoothly for rookie Jakub Brzezinski until the final stage of the rally. The 30-year-old Pole looked set to gain the final podium place, adding to his merited third spot in Finland earlier this month. But a crash on the final stage dashed those hopes at the end of an otherwise consistent display.

French Tarmac specialist Nicolas Ciamin finished with a fourth place which rounded off a steady performance for the 18-year-old. Norway's Oscar Solberg and Karan Patel, of Kenya, gained their first asphalt rally experiences. Both found the conditions tricky as they continued to plot a learning curve in their first Trophy season.

Bernardo Sousa was absent from the Trophy line-up at Rallye Deutschland. The experienced 29-year-old, from Portugal, is reported to have announced his retirement from rallying to pursue other goals. Sousa and co-driver Hugo Magalhaes had been lying third in the overall Trophy standings after three rounds of competition.

Crews now have a break as they prepare for what promises to be a thrilling final round of the Trophy series. RallyRACC Rally De Espana, based around the Costa Daurada holiday resort of Salou, takes place in mid-October.

Staged by WRC tyre manufacturer DMACK along with M-Sport, the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy provides a training ground for budding world rally stars of the future. The crews are competing in identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars - powered by Ford's 1.0 EcoBoost turbo-charged engine.

Dick Cormack, DMACK managing director, said: “We’ve seen some really tricky conditions this weekend but Osian and Dale managed it well and controlled things from the front. There were other drivers collecting points for stage wins so it sets up an exciting battle in Spain.”

Driver Quotes

Jon Armstrong from Northern Ireland said: “Unfortunately on day one we had an off on the first stage and lost quite a bit of time. Taking that into account we could have probably challenged for the win. It’s frustrating in that way but to get third is a great result considering. We’re very happy to get those points going in to Spain now. We were in Spain last year in our own car so we have the experience of the stages so it should go well.”

Osian Pryce from Wales said: “I’m over the moon with our second Fiesta Trophy victory. It’s been a great battle throughout the event with Max. It’s great to finish on top and put the disappointment of Finland behind us. Dale and I have worked and prepared really hard for this event so we don’t need to do as much in Spain. It’s all to play for in six weeks time.”

Gus Greensmith from England said: “We’ve been trying to adopt a new note system and this event has been an opportunity to do that. We had an unfortunate start when I slid off and damaged the radiator so that put us out of contention. For the rest of the rally I was driving conservatively but on Panzerplatte I was able to push and that showed I have the pace. I’ll do a pre-event test before Spain and I hope to push more there.”

Max Vatanen from Finland said: “I’m quite satisfied with our second position here. Of course there are many things to do better. At the beginning we had quite a slow pace and it took a while to catch it. But the front-runners are going really fast and Osian did a clean event. Overall I’m quite happy and looking forward to Spain.”

Jakub Brzezinski from Poland said: “It was a real disappointment for the rally to end the way it did. The car wasn’t really damaged all that much, but we just couldn’t get free and back on the road. I felt we drove well and to go off like that on the last stage is hard to take. I think we have some areas that need to be developed and we will work on them ahead of the next event in Spain.”

Oscar Solberg from Norway said: “It’s been great here in Germany. I’ve felt like I was driving to the limit here. It’s been especially tricky but the speed on Tarmac will come. In Spain I hope to be quicker and hopefully I’ll be able to get some more asphalt practice before then. This year has been a learning exercise for me and next year I want to be setting more competitive times.”

Nicolas Ciamin from France said: “The stages have been nice and I really enjoyed Panzerplatte but it’s been quite a tough weekend, especially in the wet and muddy conditions. I drove with caution because it would be so easy to make a mistake. I just needed to finish the rally. I’ve still got a lot of work to do but it’s a good start. Spain is like a race track in places so that will be very good for me.”

Karan Patel from Kenya said: “We made some mistakes and lost a lot of time. I wanted to set some positive times but early on I realised even that was going to be hard. It’s been my first rally on Tarmac with this car set-up so it’s been a huge learning experience. I’m feeling confident for Spain after getting this asphalt exposure and look for a clean finish.”

Final Classification
1. Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss 3h 29m 12.3s
2. Max Vatanen / Maxime Vilmot 3h 30m 02.6s
3. Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan 3h 31m 42.9s
4. Nicolas Ciamin / Thibault de la Haye 3h 33m 21.2s
5. Oscar Solberg / Patrik Barth Rookie 3h 37m 30.9s
6. Gus Greensmith / Alex Gelsomino 3h 57m 15.5s

Trophy Classification After Round 4
1. Osian Pryce 98
2. Max Vatanen 84
3. Jon Armstrong 68
4. Bernardo Sousa 47
5. Oscar Solberg 34
6. Nicolas Ciamin 32
7. Gus Greensmith 31
8. Jakub BrzeziƄski 31
9. Karan Patel 12
10. Dillon Van Way 10


Pryce Extends Trophy Lead With Deutschland Win
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