The reigning Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Champion, Jason Pritchard, says that postponing the Legend Fires North West Stages was, in light of the growing coronavirus outbreak, “the most sensible thing to do”.
Having won the Asphalt title in 2018 and ’19, he and co-driver Phil Clarke were the top seeded registered Championship contenders on the Preston-based event, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday 20 March.
It was to be Jason’s first appearance at the event, and he was looking forward to attempting to emulate his father’s victory there in 2001, when Eian Pritchard won in a Subaru Impreza.
To prepare for the start of his title defence, Jason had spent the winter rebuilding his North Road Garage Ford Focus WRC05, which had been down on power on the final two rounds of the 2019 series.
However, with the need to increase social distancing and the postponement of many other sporting events – including all Premier League fixtures, the Australian Grand Prix, the Formula E series and the West Cork Rally – because of the coronavirus outbreak, Jason says that postponing the opening round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship was the right thing to do.
“It’s obviously disappointing not to be doing the event but considering the situation it’s the most sensible thing to do,” said Jason. “We want the event to run again in the future and we don’t want to annoy the local community by turning up there at this sensitive time.
“I’d like to thank the organisers for all their efforts and for giving us all plenty of warning.”