Jason Pritchard missed out on the chance to secure his best finish this season and was left feeling that he deserved so much more for a strong showing in Carlisle. The Pirelli International Rally provided both excitement and disappointment for the 22-year old from Builth Wells, who had a potential top 3 finish taken away from him. Jason lost crucial time after rolling his North Road Garage backed Subaru Impreza late on Saturday afternoon. The incident, during stage 8, resulted in Pritchard losing 5-minutes on his rivals and finishing 9th overall in the third rally of this pulsating British Rally Championship.
The prestigious Carlisle racecourse was the venue for round three and David Bogie was victorious for a second time this season; Bogie led from start to finish on Kielder Forest’s demanding gravel roads. Pritchard was on the pace throughout and started extremely well on Friday evening, navigating a number of problems along the way; he was fourth in proceedings after the two seven-mile runs through Newcastleton Forest and was only 0.01 seconds away from third place. Jason had a further 79 competitive miles to deal with on the Saturday and was well placed to challenge the overnight leaders, feeling extremely confident after such a strong showing during the first two stages:
"The roads were what we expected, very dry and dusty from the word go. It's always a special feature of the rally here in Carlisle, however I felt great over the two stages, even though we had to deal with a bent wheel after the first stage. It was crucial with a new co driver that we clicked and I felt that a top 3 finish was very much in our sights going into the Saturday."
Pritchard admitted that valuable time was lost early on Saturday after being on the wrong tyres but again the youngster managed a difficult situation with maturity and confidence:
"Once we changed tyres we managed to pick up the pace and I'm disappointed that the incident on stage ten hampered my final position. Looking at the final times and what we lost, third place would've been achievable, so it's very frustrating. However it's important that I take the positives away from what was an excellent drive. I would also like to mention the spectators who pulled me out of the car after the roll, the support as always was fantastic and I can't thank everyone enough."
Pritchard was third fastest after the incident, showing his desire and ability to deal with any situation and he finished the race impressively, even with a smashed windscreen. The Jim Clark International Rally in Scotland is next up for Jason and if he can avoid similar incidents and any bad luck along the way, we can expect Pritchard to be up there challenging again.
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