NATIONAL RALLYING EDITOR
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” ”