SWEDISH driver Fredrik Ahlin and his Norwegian co-driver Torstein Eriksen claimed victory on round five of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship – the Nicky Grist Stages.
Based at the Royal Welsh Showground but with the ceremonial start and finish podium in the center of Builth Wells, the Nicky Grist Stages is a unique event on the British Rally Championship calendar with the two days split into two surfaces; gravel on Saturday and the asphalt of Epynt on Sunday.
Heavy rain and hill fog made driving conditions difficult last year; twelve months later the complete opposite was the order of the weekend, with dust hanging between the trees in the forest hampered all but the first competing car on the road.
Osian Pryce and co driver Dale Furness made the most of the running order and after completing the first days loose gravel stages the Welsh pairing took five stage wins from eight meant Pryce went into the overnight halt with a healthy 20 second lead over closest rival Ahlin.
Sunday morning and sunshine greeted the crews as they ascended through the early morning mist at the lower levels of Mynydd Epynt, Ahlin was fired-up to reel in Pryce, who was chasing a historical home win.
Unfortunately, the battle royale showdown was to be denied as Pryce suffered a high-pressure fuel pump failure sidelined the Spenser Sport prepared Fiesta R5 allowing the Scandinavian crew to inherit the lead in their Skoda Fabia R5.
North Wales-based Matt Edwards with step in co-driver Phil Clarke who usually co drives local ace Jason Pritchard also in a R5 Fiesta secured the runners up spot while Rhys Yates and Alex Lee took their first BRC podium in their Fiesta R5 with third position.