Pritchard takes glory in season opener

JASON Pritchard opened his Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship title defence with victory in the Rallynuts Tour of Epynt

Pritchard and co-driver Phil Clarke competed in a North Road Garage Ford Focus WRC05.

The Builth Wells star led from the second stage and never looked back and even managed to stretch their lead despite stopping for a passing flock of sheep on the penultimate stage.

Pritchard crossed the line more than two minutes ahead of Damien Cole/Shelley Rogerson while John Stone/Jack Morton completed the podium to ensure a triumphant start to his championship defence.

Pritchard said: “We just kept our heads down and drove to the conditions throughout the day.

“The car’s ran faultlessly, Phil’s been faultless on the notes and it’s nice when you have a day like that because all the boys have done in service is changed the tyres once, slicks on for one loop and then back onto wets, so it was an enjoyable day.

“It wasn’t easy, but the only stage we struggled on was the first one because I was a bit rusty and I messed up on the paddle shift going around the hut because I was in the wrong gear.

“I have no idea how we did not stall but after that I got my head down and I am delighted with the win.”

Pritchard praised organisers and marshalls for their role in bringing a top quality event to South Powys.

“A big thank you to the marshals who stood outside all day in torrential weather, and it’s been a good slick event with no major hold ups,” said Pritchard.

The Masterpixel Media Manx National Rally hosts Rounds the second and third rounds of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship on May 10/11.