THE British Rally Championship comes to a climax in Northern Ireland this weekend with two drivers vying for the title – and they’re both Welsh.

Machynlleth’s Osian Pryce is in the driving seat ahead of the Modern Tyres Ulster Rally, but two-time winner Matt Edwards will be breathing down his Melvyn Evans Motorsport team-mate’s neck.

If Llandudno-born Edwards can get his hands on a third championship, after successes in 2018 and 2019, then it would give Abersoch’s Darren Garrod a second co-drivers’ title.

It’s the most straightforward final-round scenario that Edwards has ever faced as he aims for nothing less than maximum points to secure a record-breaking third straight drivers’ crown.

Fellow Welshman David Llewellin, Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen and Russell Brookes also won the championship twice, while only Mark Higgins is a three-time winner.

Pryce and Edwards have won two rounds each this year, but the former has an eight-point lead having finished on the podium in every round so far.

“The event seems right up my street,” said Pryce, who is a two-time runner-up in the championship.

“I feel I’ve come this far before in the championship and it has fallen from our reach in the final moments, so I will do everything I can possibly do to make sure we take it this year.

“If it doesn’t happen it won’t be for the lack of trying.

“Getting the first title would mean everything right now just because we have come so close in the past and never won it, and we have worked so hard for it this year.

“Based on our performance on the Cambrian, I rate our chances quite high, but this event is a completely different challenge.

“The plan of attack has been the same all year and it doesn’t change now, we have had a good approach to every event and this is the one where we have to be on the ball from the very beginning.”

Edwards has a very good record in the Ulster Rally, winning the British Rally Championship section and finishing second overall on his last appearance in 2019, and winning the event overall in 2018, both times driving a Ford Fiesta R5.

Another fast and hopefully trouble-free run this time in his Polo GTI R5 would put Edwards into the history books as the only driver to win the series three times in a row.

“It’s the most straightforward final round of the British Rally Championship that I’ve ever had, as I’ve got to go and win it,” he said.

“There are no variables, no ifs and buts – it’s a case of maximum points or nothing.

“And I feel good about it too, because I go to the final round with a lot of confidence in the Polo.

“We proved in Mull that we have the speed and we know that we have the pace on asphalt to get the job done.

“I’ve also gone well in recent years in Ulster. There is a good mix of fast and technical stages and when we were there last time in 2019 we had a few stage wins against Craig Breen and finished second overall.

“There is nothing going against me at the moment. Everything feels aligned and I see no reason why we won’t be able to score maximum BRC points in Ulster and come home with the title.”

Organised by the Northern Ireland Motor Club, this year’s Modern Tyres Ulster Rally on Saturday is based in Newry and features nine closed road asphalt stages totalling 94 stage miles.