Daniel McKenna and Osian Pryce go head-to-head for championship glory
Rally Isle of Man, 11-13 September, marks the culmination of the 2014 MSA British Rally ChampionshipThe MSA British Rally Championship will be decided this weekend at the Rally Isle of Man (powered by Microgaming), with DS 3 drivers Daniel McKenna and Osian Pryce battling to win, it promises to be a Manx classic.
Thursday will see the start of this fast, tough event, with the first stage being a blast around Douglas Promenade, before the crews tackle the classic Manx sections such as Druidale, Injebreck, Brandywell, Abbeylands and Marine Drive. The finish, after twenty four special stages, is at the TT Grandstand on Saturday afternoon, when we will have a new MSA British Rally Champion.
More so than usual the Rally Isle of Man is important, with British Rally Championship points up for grabs in both legs of the event, and further emphasis on the second leg as points and a half are available to the winner.
Pirelli Star Driver, Daniel McKenna, is in a prime position with a twenty-two point lead over his rival, Welshman Osian Pryce. However, the double scoring on the Manx event means the Monaghan driver is not off the hook yet. If Osian Pryce can finish ahead of Daniel on both days the title will go to Wales, but if Daniel keeps him at bay, the title will go to Ireland. With the Manx roads switching from fast wide open sections to narrow and slippery sections, a clean, fast drive is essential for both young drivers, not easy when the pressure is on.
Daniel has had a brief test in his DGM Sport prepared DS 3. “It was good to get back in the car, and the test we had was on a rainy day, so the tarmac was very wet. It was the first time I had really driven the car on wet tarmac, and it was useful to get that experience. Hopefully our experience of the Manx roads from our trip in May will stand us in good stead this week.
“My co-driver Arthur Kierans will have a busy few days getting all the pace notes out, and Osian as ever will be going very quickly, so it’ll be hard to judge. It would be great to reward Pirelli and our team for the faith they have put in me this season, but Osian too will be looking to do the same for his team.”
During the season Osian Pryce and co-driver Dale Furniss have had their fair share of bad luck, including a gearbox failure whilst leading the Scottish Rally. The 21 year old driver from Machynlleth, in Wales, has already clocked up third and second overall in the British Rally Championship over the past two seasons, and it’s the winner’s trophy he is now hoping to claim.
Osian commented ahead of the weekend, “Of course there is a lot of pressure this week, but really we are out to do our best. We had a great battle with Daniel on the Jim Clark, and we are trying to improve the car a little bit for the Manx also, so it’s looking good. I’m looking forward to it, and let’s hope we can take the title.”
Other Citroën challengers include Richard Sykes and Emma Morrison in their C2 R2 Max. They are looking to wrap up the BRC Challenge series this weekend after a successful season in the 1600cc pocket rocket. Former C2 driver Andrew Hockridge is also hoping to rocket his way up the leaderboard as he gets used to his DS 3 R3. The turbo-charged front wheel drive machine should be ideally suited to the Isle of Man tarmac, as the rally crews depart the TT Grandstand on Thursday afternoon for the start.