Historic Motorsport: WRC hopeful winds back the clock

Osian Pryce has swapped his front-wheel-drive R2 car for a more oldschool, rear-drive Ford Escort in the pursuit of historic success

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Osian Pryce will return to a Ford Escort Mk2 for the Red Kite Stages and says that the seldom-used forests of South Wales should provide a level playing field.

WRC aspirant Pryce will contest the June 24 event in the same historic specification car he used to finish third historic on Rally North Wales in March, despite a late puncture. The Red Kite is round four of the Motor Sports Association British Historic Rally Championship.

The last time Pryce rallied in the Vale of Neath was on the final day of his FIA World Rally Championship debut on the 2010 Wales Rally GB. Now, he will tackle the classic stage of Rheola and Resolven in the 1978 Escort prepared and tended by Suffolk-based RallyXtreme.

Pryce said: 'I’m looking forward to rallying somewhere I don’t know as it adds to the challenge. I think some of my main rivals might have rallied there in 2013, but as the stages on this year’s Red Kite aren’t used very often, it's a bit more of a level playing field for everyone.

'Fresh rallies always make you prepare that little bit harder, and you really have to focus and get stuck in right from the word go.

'Rally North Wales showed that we can be competitive in an Escort Mk2, so we’re going to give it another good go on the Red Kite. A top three finished would be good and a win would be great! We’ll be trying hard and having a lot of fun, that’s for sure.'

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Last minute rallying

Warren Philliskirk came within five minutes of missing the Carlisle Stages at the weekend when his planned co-driver was taken ill. However, just as the Yorkshireman was going to scrub his entry, Mark Casey stepped in.

With overalls, helmet and a HANS device borrowed from Baz Jordan and a set of safety notes delivered to the start control, Casey guided the Ford Escort Mk1 to second in Category 2 and ninth overall historic.

'I had 20 minutes to prepare,' said Casey, who co-ordinates the Northern Historic Rally Championship. 'I thought I was going to have to go home,' said Philliskirk after pleas on social media failed to find a replacement. 'Mark was absolutely spot on.'

Squires set for New Zealand adventure

British rallying stalwart Phil Squires will tackle the Silver Fern Rally in New Zealand for the third time this November.

Squires initially went to the biennial event in 2014 as a one-off 50th birthday present to himself, but fell in love with the rally and went back in 2016. Now, he will contest the eight-day marathon for third time.

'The route is all on North Island this year, so that will all be new to me,' said Squires who will ship his Ford Escort Mk2 in late August or early September. 'It is over 800 stage miles which is longer than ever and will mean at least 12 hours of competitive driving.'

Perez switches rally Porsches

Seb Perez will switch Porsches for the Ypres Historic Rally in Belgium (June 20-23), trading his regular 911 G3 Cup from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB race series for a three-litre 911 RS rally car.

Perez will join his father Steve for the high-profile event, with Perez senior competing in his crowd-pleased Lancia Stratos. Both cars will run under the Amigos banner as Seb rallies a three-litre historic Porsche for the first time.

Harri Toivonen and local ace Stefaan Stouf will use Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4s while Jari Latvala, father of WRC star Jari-Matti, is in a Toyota Celica GT4.

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Cortina's early Carlisle bath

Bob Bean and Miles Cartwright suffered the first retirement of the Carlisle Sages when they failed to get to the first stage on Friday night. Their Lotus Cortina suffered engine issues on the run out to Kielder and returned to Carlisle on a tow-rope for further investigation. The Category 1 crew had been set to run fourth on the road under the new running order arrangements.

FF2000s head to Silverstone en masse

One of the biggest fields of Classic Formula Ford 2000s for several seasons will tackle the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit this weekend. An encouraging total of 15 URS Classic FF2000 cars will share two races with the Historic Sports Car Club Classic Formula 3 Championship field. Nine Van Diemen RF82s pack out the field.

Mounsey's boost second wind fortunes

Brothers Malcolm and Ronald Mounsey finished their first rally since making a competitive comeback when they took their Sunbeam Talbot to a D2 class win on the Carlisle Stages. They started the car build last April but were not ready in time for a planned debut on the Roger Albert Clark Rally last November. They are rallying to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

David Latchford passes away

AutoClassics is sad to learn of the death of David Latchford, a graduate from the 500cc F3 era of the 1950s and the driver of the Halseylec sports-racing car. He was the first international participant in a British-built Formula Junior, driving the Halson he built with Eugene Hall at Monaco and other circuits in 1959. He later raced the Dolphin now owned and raced by Kevin Musson.

Wheels come off Ginns and Cooper's rally

Tony Ginns and newcomer co-driver Matt Cooper had a torrid start to their season when they put their Escort Mk1 into a Kielder ditch barely a mile into the Carlisle Stages on Friday night. After being rescued by 15 spectators, they rejoined on Saturday after an overnight clutch change. Cooper has followed his father Pat into co-driving.

Can-Am turnout

Three Can-Am cars feature in the entry for the opening Pre-’80 Endurance race of the season at Silverstone this weekend. Race car preparer Dean Forward has entered a mighty McLaren M8F while Richard Dodkins is taking the vast March 717 and Anthony Taylor will field his McLaren M6B. Leo Voyazides heads the entry for two 30-minute races in his DFV-powered Lola T282.

100 cars for Double Twelve Festival

The Vintage Sports-Car Club Brooklands Sprint, the third round of the club’s speed championship, will take place on Saturday as part of the venue’s Double Twelve Motorsport Festival. The action for around 100 cars will take place on the Mercedes Benz track at the famous Surrey venue.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Lawrence and Motorsport Images

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