De­fend­ing cham­pion is hop­ing to end tor­rid run on the Red Dragon

Motor Sport News - - Historics - By Paul Lawrence

Ja­son Pritchard says that Satur­day’s Red Dragon Rally will be crit­i­cal in his bid to re­tain the Min­tex MSA Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

Pritchard and co-driver Phil Clarke have had a dis­as­trous run with non-fin­ishes in the last three ral­lies. Now, Pritchard must fin­ish the South Wales event to re­tain a chance of backto-back ti­tles.

Their sea­son started well with wins on the two open­ing rounds, but their Ford Es­cort Mk2 was off the road on the Pirelli and Sev­ern Val­ley ral­lies be­fore go­ing out of the Harry Flat­ters Rally with en­gine fail­ure. The best six scores from nine rounds will de­cide the cham­pi­onship and Pritchard has now used up all his dropped scores with three rounds to go.

“Any­thing is pos­si­ble in ral­ly­ing,” said Pritchard. “It is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble but we will still go to the event with the aim to fin­ish. My strat­egy will be the same as al­ways; to get de­cent points for the cham­pi­onship. I’m re­ally de­ter­mined to fin­ish but also just want to try and for­get about it and go out and en­joy the rally.”

The blown en­gine on Epynt was a dev­as­tat­ing blow. “I sat on the bank with my head in my hands think­ing: ‘what have I got to do to fin­ish?’ Thanks to Sher­wood En­gines a new en­gine has been built and is wait­ing for me to fit this week.

“Get­ting a top re­sult is very dif­fi­cult with the pace at the front of the BHRC. I’ve not tested in Wal­ters be­fore and have only been through it on a cou­ple of events.”

Pritchard: Night­mare ti­tle de­fence in 2016

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