Matt Edwards says he has “all the ingredients” required to retain his British Rally Championship drivers’ crown on Saturday’s Ulster Rally.
The Newry-based event is the seventh and final round of what has been a topsy-turvy British campaign for the defending champion, who is aiming to become the first person to win it three times on the bounce.
To do that, however, Edwards must make sure he is the first of the BRC registered drivers home on this weekend’s Tarmac classic. Anything less and fellow Welshman Osian Pryce will be guaranteed a first-ever BRC title.
“If I can get everything to fall into place then I know I can do it,” said Edwards. “All of the ingredients are there; I just need to bring them all together on the Ulster and if I can the title takes care of itself.
“The approach is fairly obvious and for that reason I haven’t bothered looking at different outcomes; I have to go to the Ulster Rally and I have to win. I have to go as hard and as fast as I can to beat Osian.
“I might not have won as many rounds this year as I have done in the past, but the one thing that gives me confidence heading into the last round is our pace. If we didn’t have that then I would be worried.”
A stellar entry has been secured by organisers of the Ulster Rally, with Irish drivers filling eight of the top ten places, including the Moffett brothers, new Northern Ireland champion Jonathan Greer, and Callum Devine who is fresh from wins on the Cork 20, Donegal Harvest and Tour of the Sperrins rallies.
But Edwards insists he is not overly concerned by their presence. “I had the pace over them last time [in 2019],” he said, “so I won’t have any issues. I don’t see them being there a problem for me.”
As for Pryce, he feels at one with his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 and having mastered the tricky, unforgiving roads on the island of Mull in October, he reckons a repeat performance is on the cards with Irish team-mate, Noel O’Sullivan.
“Now that I’m feeling more comfortable driving the Polo GTI and I’m confident that we’ll be able to start the event with a good set up and balance, I’m really looking forward to the Ulster Rally more than any other event that we’ve gone to this year,” said Pryce, who last contested the event in 2017.
“Winning last time out on the Cambrian was a great confidence boost. I’ll have to employ the same tactic again and try to make a good start on the Ulster because in recent years a large chuck of the time gained has been on the opening loop of stages.
“It’s nice to be going to the final round of the British Rally Championship in the lead. I’ve been in this position before and this time we’re determined to finish the job off and win the title.”
Saturday’s event is being streamed live on Facebook and the official Ulster Rally website.