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Spencer Sport hasn’t had it easy with its new Mit­subishi Mi­rage (which is an R5 but we can’t re­ally call it that un­til it’s ho­molo­gated).

But now I be­lieve that the team is back on track with its an­nounce­ments this week that it will com­bine Tom Cave and Osian Pryce on se­lected rounds of the BRC this year.

Cave will com­plete the whole year in a Fi­esta R5 Evo, while Pryce will cam­paign the Mi­rage in the na­tional cat­e­gory of the BRC ( see rally news page 14).

While it was a set­back not to be al­lowed to start the Mit­subishi in the BRC 1 class for ho­molo­gated R5 cars, the team has made a re­ally shrewd move to get Pryce in the car. Why? Bench­marks. If you read my Elfyn Evans col­umn a few weeks back you’ll know I love a good bench­mark. Test­ing a driver’s pace and the speed of a car against oth­ers is dif­fi­cult in ral­ly­ing, but Spencer Sport has done the per­fect job to show­case whether the Mi­rage is a real ri­val to the Ford Fi­esta, Peu­geot 208 T16 and Skoda Fabia.

Al­though the car is only en­tered on the na­tional rally, the crews still do the same stages. There­fore Char­lie Jukes – Spencer Sport team prin­ci­pal – can pick up the tim­ing from each stage and di­rectly com­pare the times be­tween Pryce and Cave.

This wouldn’t work un­less there was a very handy driver in the Mi­rage, and Pryce proved in the JWRC last year that he has the pace, if the car will last. The same goes for Cave who has fin­ished run­ner-up in the Drive DMACK Tro­phy for two sea­sons run­ning.

So, much like Mal­colm Wil­son putting a top driver in the Ford Fi­esta R5 Evo for Monte to go up against the likes of im­pres­sive Finn Es­apekka Lappi and Monte spe­cial­ist Julien Mau­rin, Spencer Sport will put its Mi­rage against the Fi­esta Evo with two very good driv­ers.

One of the main points of the Spencer Sport op­er­a­tion is to sell cars, so much like the ef­fect Elfyn had on the sales of R5 Evos over the Monte week­end (Wil­son had many calls ask­ing for the up­grades thanks to the Welsh­man’s pace) Spencer Sport can do some­thing sim­i­lar.

If Pryce can mix it with the the top R5 cars on se­lect ral­lies, Spencer Sport’s phones could be­come very busy, very quickly.

Es­pe­cially when you con­sider the car is cheaper than a new Fi­esta or Fabia.

Speak­ing of Fabias, I’d like to di­rect you back to page 18 if you haven’t read it al­ready. Kalle Ro­van­pera is a 15-year-old cur­rently driv­ing a Skoda S2000! Yes, his father is WRC driver Harri, but that’s no ex­cuse for be­ing as stupidly tal­ented as this young man.

I spend hours on end watch­ing on­boards, and Kalle’s from his lat­est Lat­vian es­capades is a par­tic­u­lar high­light. Max Ver­stap­pen of ral­ly­ing? I think so.

“Spencer Sport made a shrewd move with R5” ”

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