Killarney man and his Welsh pilot, Osian Pryce, take the crown with one round to spare after victory in Yorkshire last weekend
Killarney co-driver Noel O’Sullivan has been crowned British Rally Champion after guiding Welsh driver Osian Pryce to victory on last weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire. The rally victory secured the title with one round to spare.
After taking the lead in the opening Dalby test under the cover of darkness on Friday night, Pryce and O’Sullivan were never headed. Despite having the weight of a title tilt on their shoulders, they brushed it aside with aplomb, winning four of the six stages to return to the Filey seafront finish to add their name to the coveted BRC trophy, joining the likes of Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola.
O’Sullivan from Muckross, grew up in a rally house, his father Noel Sr has been driving rally cars for nearly 40 years.
“I have no words, this is a very special win, so many people to thank,” he said at the event finish on Saturday afternoon.
“My first memory of the British Rally Championship, when I was 12, and watching it Sky Sports after school. Never did I think back then that I would win that very championship.”
Their chief opposition in both the title race and rally came from the all-Irish crew of West Cork’s Keith Cronin and Killarney’s Mikie Galvin.
Cronin made a comeback to the British Championship tour in a quest for a record-equalling fifth title. Galvin was chasing his second having partnered Cronin to his fourth title in 2017.
They were unable to challenge for the lead over the event’s 60 competitive kilometres and eventually finished second.
Being seven points off the championship lead going into the event, they had to win in Yorkshire to bring the title battle to the final round next month.
Although defeated, Cronin was first to praise his year-long rivals.
“Osian and Noel have been outstanding all year, they thoroughly deserve their British Championship. It has been a pleasure to compete against them, we had good craic with them on the rallies, it was like a group of friends meeting up really,” said Killarney and District Motor Club member Cronin.
Garda Rally Baltinglass
The all-Kerry crew of Conor Murphy and Sean Collins narrowly missed out on a maiden rally win on Sunday.
They finished second to Ryan Loughran and Paddy McCrudden on the Garda Síochána Motor Club Germaine’s of Baltinglass Rally – a mere 5.3 seconds was their margin of victory at the end of six stages.
Murphy and Collins, the No. 16 seeds, surprised many by heading the timesheets for part of the rally, but a fuel pump issue during the middle loop cost them time on the longer straights, and they dropped to second.