Tom Cave and James Morgan and the New Generation Hyundai i20 R5 once again proved they are capable of winning a Prestone MSA British Rally Championship round, when they led the RSAC Scottish Rally during the early stages of the event. Having driven a perfectly judged first leg, they accrued a 9.9-second advantage on Friday evening only to retire on Saturday morning when the car lost a wheel on stage three.
Following their front-running pace in their first outing in the car on last month’s Carlisle-based Pirelli Rally, it was confirmed that Tom and James would drive a New Generation i20 R5 on this weekend’s third round of the British Rally Championship.
The Scottish Rally started in Dumfries, featured a service park based near Lockerbie and finished in Moffat. The route comprised a total of 75 competitive miles split into 10 stages, all taking place over the gravel roads in the nearby Ae and Eskdalemuir Forests.
The competition began with two stages on Friday evening. Impressively, as they had done on the previous Pirelli Rally, Tom and James were quickest out of the blocks and set the fastest time through stage one – an 8.8-mile run in wet and slippery conditions. Consequently, they headed into stage two – a re-run of the first – with a 4.5 second lead and, even with the road surface rougher and more challenging, they were fastest again and extended their lead to 9.9 seconds before the overnight halt.
With everything going according to plan and the car handling perfectly on its DMACK tyres over the unpredictable road surface, the strategy for the first of the eight stages on Saturday was to continue to push and extend their advantage. Split times in SS3 showed Tom and James were faster than their rival by a handful of seconds as they got closer to the end of the nine-mile stage.
But then, when negotiating a left-hander, Tom felt what he thought was a right-rear puncture. It soon became apparent that the car had lost a wheel and, although continuing to the end of the stage, it was clear the rally was over for the two Welshmen.
“It’s such a shame, as everything was going perfectly and exactly as planned up to that point”, explained Tom. “The car felt great and I am confident that we could have maintained our pace throughout the rally.
“Even though we didn’t finish, we take away a lot of positives from this event. It’s certainly reassuring to know that every time we’ve completed a stage in the Hyundai, we’ve won it! I therefore hope to be driving the car again soon and proving that together, we’re a winning combination.”
Further news regarding Tom and James’ next outing in the New Generation Hyundai i20 R5 will be announced shortly.
Tom’s 2017 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: the Trefeddian Hotel, DMACK Tyres, Walero UK and Atech Racing.