Top 10 was on the cards in Latvia
19th June 2023
After almost an hour and a half of flat-out competition, Osian Pryce finished just 32.1 seconds away from a top 10 finish on the Tet Rally Liepāja in only his second FIA European Rally Championship event in a Škoda Fabia Rally2.
The changing conditions, which switched from dry and dusty to wet and slippery, weren’t helpful as Osian tried to find the best loose-surface set-up on his new car, yet the Michelin Talent Factory driver was still able to set a pace that was only one second per kilometre slower that the regular ERC drivers – which is a remarkable feat, given that he has had so little seat time in the MAPO Motorsport-prepared car and that this was his first rally in Latvia for 13 years.
Some technical tweaks that Osian made improved the Fabia, as he and co-driver Stéphane Prévot moved from 13th to 11th on day one.
However, some adjustments simply didn’t work and instead made the car more difficult to drive, and on day two Osian slipped back to finish 14th.
“My lack of experience with the Fabia is showing and we’ve been chasing our tails as regards to set up on this event – but we know the pace is there and it’s just a case of unlocking it,” said Osian.
“Day one wasn’t too bad, and we made a few steps forward with the car. The morning was a bit frustrating as we lost time in the dust, but it was early in the rally and having made such a big effort to come to Latvia we didn’t want to do anything silly. We did what we could, and whilst I was more than a little unsure with the handling of the car, I could see where we were losing time and that there was a lot more to come.
“Day two was a bit up and down, and whilst some changes to the set-up worked, others didn’t. It was never perfect, but we were still setting times around one second per kilometre off the pace, which isn’t bad against the top ERC rally drivers.
“The pace in the ERC is unbelievable. On the qualifying stage for example, where we had a small issue on the start line and some small mistakes later on which cost us a decent road position, seventeen cars were separated by 3.6 seconds!
“I’m probably a bit hard on myself at times, but that’s only because I want to improve. I must remember that I’m competing against drivers that are doing a lot more rallies than I am – but that’s life and Latvia has once again been one heck of a learning experience for me, just as it had been when I came here as a teenager!”
Osian is supported by Michelin Motorsport, as a part of the Talent Factory programme, Demon Tweeks, Bell Racing helmets, OMP race suits, DL Jones Pontrobert Ltd (coach and taxi hire), Hills Campervans (campervan sales and hire), MotoFit (performance training) and his own family-run specialist building firm G+M Pryce.