Daniel McKenna and Callum Black take first gravel victory

McKENNA TAKES FIRST GRAVEL VICTORY IN HIS DS 3 AT RSAC SCOTTISH RALLYDaniel McKenna and Callum Black dominate round three of the MSA British Rally Championship with a 1-2 finish in their DS 3sMcKenna’s nearest championship rival Osian Pryce, retires following gearbox problems

Round three of the MSA British Rally Championship, the RSAC Scottish Rally, took place this weekend. Once again the DS 3s dominated the event with Daniel McKenna leading home Callum Black for a 1-2 finish.

Almost taking a clean sweep of the podium, gearbox problems forced Osian Pryce to retire on thepenultimate stage.

All eyes were on the expected rivalry between Welsh man Osian Pryce and Irish driver Daniel McKenna, with Pryce having previously had the upper hand with his round one victory on the gravel. On the opening Friday evening Heath-hall test however, it was McKenna who was fastest out of the blocks to take a significant 1.9 second lead over Pryce, with Callum Black and Timothy Cathcart fifth and sixth fastest in their DS 3s.

On the opening stage the next morning, Pryce assumed his revenge by taking a staggering fifteen seconds from McKenna who had more dust to contend with. Osian Pryce and Dale Furniss clocked another two fastest times, commanding a twenty-one second lead over Daniel McKenna who had Arthur Kierans calling the pace-notes. “The morning went well for us,” said Osian. “We encountered a few patches of dust from Korhonen, who was running ahead of us in the Clio, and that cost us a fraction here and there on the first stage, but otherwise all was good. Eventually when the organisers started us three minutes behind the Renault the dust didn’t become an issue, and we were holding onto our lead.”

On stage five McKenna took a fastest time, but Pryce’s recorded time of 6.50 was an error. Once Pryce’s time was corrected to 6.15, the result looked to be academic. Pirelli Star Driver McKenna clocked two fastest times on stages six and eight to trail Pryce by fifteen seconds going into stage nine - Ae West. Pryce’s fortunes headed south from there, as a gearbox issue combined with a puncture forced him to retire from the event. “There was just one stage left, but it was fourteen miles with a lot of up-hill sections. I had to make a decision to pull out as we were only going to destroy our gear-box. It’s one of those things, and now it will be a hard race for the championship for the rest of the season.”

Callum Black had settled into fourth place, and commanded a twenty-five second advantage over the next DS 3 of Timothy Cathcart and Dai Roberts who held onto sixth. It wouldn’t be for much longer though, as on stage seven a stone rubbed through a brake pipe and they were left with very little brakes, resulting in a slide off and retirement. For Callum, a superb second place was just reward. Rene Torcato’s perseverance was also rewarded with a fifth place, getting his championship off to a good start in the C2 R2 Max. There was no such luck for Richard Sykes and Emma Morrison this time in the BRC Challenge as they rolled their C2 R2 Max on stage seven.

For Daniel McKenna it was a landmark first BRC gravel victory. “The car was perfect, thanks to the DGM team and Pirelli. It’s given us a great confidence boost going into the Ulster Rally and the stages there are a lot more familiar, I’m really looking forward to it.”

The BRC returns to closed road tarmac for the Ulster International on the 15-16 August. It’s Daniel McKenna’s preferred surface, but Osian Pryce took an excellent win last year on the Ulster tarmac, so an epic rally lies in store.