Osian Pryce starts next week’s Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy encounter in Poland as favourite to win two WRC 2 drives in next season’s FIA World Rally Championship.
The Welshman stole Trophy victory in the final speed test at the season opener in Portugal last month and carries a nine-point lead onto the lightning-quick gravel roads of PZM 73rd Rally Poland (30 June - 3 July).
The top scorer after Portugal and Poland wins two outings in the WRC’s principal support category in 2017. Pryce hopes last year’s Polish experience, when he dominated his class until an alternator problem stopped him on the final day, will help him into the seat.
“Next week is a very, very big deal for Dale (co-driver Furniss) and I,” said 23-year-old Pryce. “There’s no two ways about it, if we get the right result in Poland, it’ll be huge for our careers.
“It would be silly to say there’s no pressure on Dale and I, of course there is. But we banked some really good points with the win in Portugal and now it’s about us finishing the job – or the first part of the job – next week.”
Portugal runner-up Max Vatanen is Pryce’s closest challenger, but the experienced Bernardo Sousa has his sights set on bouncing back from disappointment there. Sousa rolled out on the last special stage while leading by more than a minute.
Eighteen-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Ciamin is third in the standings while young Brit Gus Greensmith led in Portugal and aims to translate his speed into victory on the soft and sandy roads near Mikolajki in the Masurian lake district.
Local hero Jakub Brzezinski has home advantage while the fast, flowing tests should suit Norwegian Oscar Solberg. Jon Armstrong, fourth in Portugal, and Kenya’s Karan Patel complete the line-up. All drive identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars.