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Tom Cave and co-driver James Morgan achieved what they set out to do in this weekend’s Neste Rally Finland – and that was to finish on the WRC2 Class podium. Driving a New Generation Hyundai i20 R5, they also claimed a credible 15th place overall in the event that represented the ninth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Having competed in Finland twice before when contesting the DMACK Drive Trophy in a two-wheel-drive car – and winning the series there in 2015 – Tom was pleased to have secured the opportunity to drive a more powerful four-wheel-drive machine this time around. Tom from Aberdovey and James from Hirwaun completed two days of successful testing in the car, which is owned and run by Sarrazin Motorsport, earlier this week.

The official pre-event shakedown on Thursday morning also went well and consequently, everything was set for the start of the rally in Jyväskylä and the first stage – a short spectator-friendly affair the town’s central park – that evening.  With the opening test completed, the rally restarted on Friday morning with 12 more traditional-style Finnish forest stages to the west and north of the town.

Not completely at-one with the feel of the car on the gravel roads that were made unpredictable due to the morning’s rain, Tom and James were to follow a calculated game plan that saw them 6th in WRC2 and 21st overall at the lunch time service halt. A few adjustments and a fresh set of Dmack tyres made a significant difference in the afternoon, but just as the Welshmen began to charge, five kilometres into SS10 they encountered a minor brake problem.

By using the gears and a considerable amount of skill, Tom managed to get the car to the end of the stage, where he and James were able to effect repairs and get more braking force into the system. Remarkably, although off the front-running pace, they only dropped around a minute through the remaining three stages and consequently maintained their position.

Once back in the service park, the team found and fixed the issue. It was therefore business as usual for Saturday’s eight stages and, having driven all of them before including the classic Ouninpohja stage that was tackled once in the morning and again in the afternoon, Tom admitted he was looking forward to what lay in store.

His positive approach to the day’s proceedings was soon rewarded when, following the Ouninpohja stage – the third of the day – he and James emerged third of the WRC2 runners and 17th overall. Following a further push in the afternoon, it was clear that the time previously lost was unlikely to be gained against the Finnish driver Jari Huttunen in first and Frenchman Quentin Gilbert in second.

So, for Sunday’s four stages, consolidation was the name of the game and, with Gilbert now over a minute ahead and Welsh compatriot and British Championship sparring partner Osian Pryce over two minutes behind in fourth, the focus of attention for Tom and James was to ensure they brought the Hyundai home in a podium position. And that’s exactly what they did.

As they drove over the finish ramp in front of 1000s of spectators in the centre of Jyväskylä under the Baltic summer sunshine on Sunday afternoon, the realization of what they had achieved finally sunk in:

“While this is one of my favourite rallies and includes some of my favourite stages, it’s still a really tough event. So, with a car that was new to us and with the Hyundai i20 R5 making its debut to this event, I’m extremely pleased with the result.

“WRC2 is the highest and most competitive category for R5 cars in the world. So, to get to the finish having overcome the issues we had during the event, I feel very proud to come away with third in WRC2, finish15th overall and to have given the i20 R5 its best result in a WRC round so far.

“My motto is: ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ and that phrase has never been more appropriate. I would therefore like to thank all the people and organisations involved for giving us the opportunity to compete in Finland and achieve this result: Dmack Tyres, the Trefeddian Hotel, Atech Racing, Walero Motorsports and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.

“I must also congratulate the Rally Finland organisers for putting on such a good event, plus I have to thank the Sarrazin Motorsport team for their hard work and of course, James, who has done far more than just co-drive this past few days.”

Further news regarding Tom’s 2017 motorsport campaign will be announced before the end of August.

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NESTE RALLY FINLAND WRC2 FINAL RESULTS
1.      Jari Huttunen/Antti Linnaketo    FIN/FIN    SKODA: 2:39:30.9
2.     Quentin Gilbert/Renaud Jamoul    FRA/BEL    SKODA:  2:41:48.7
3.     Tom Cave/James Morgan    GBR/GBR    HYUNDAI:  2:43:13.9
4.     Osian Pryce/Dale Furniss    GBR/GBR    FORD:  2:45:39.6
5.     Simone Tempestini/Giovanni Bernacchini  ROU/ITA  CITROEN:  2:47:27.1
6.     Raul Jeets    Kuldar Sikk    EST/EST    SKODA:  2:51:36.2
7.     Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais    FRA/FRA   FORD:  3:09:11.4
8.     Fergus Greensmith/Craig Parry    GBR/GBR    FORD:  3:09:30.5
9.     Juuso Nordgren/Mikael Korhonen    FIN/FIN   SKODA:  3:31:27.1
10.   Umberto Scandola/Michele Ferrara    ITA/ITA    SKODA:  3:34:00.9

British rally driver Tom Cave is currently preparing to contest his biggest event of the season so far, when he enters this year’s Neste Rally Finland (27 – 30 July), round nine of the FIA World Rally Championship. Together with his regular co-driver James Morgan, the Welsh pair will be competing for honours in the WRC2 category driving a Hyundai i20 R5.

Having entered three rounds of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship earlier this season, Finland marks the fourth outing for Tom (from Aberdovey) and James (from Hirwaun) in an i20 and represents their first WRC round in the car. Whilst Tom has competed on the event twice before – the last time in 2015 when he won the DMACK Drive Trophy – this will be his first time driving a four-wheel-drive car.

“It’s great that we’ve been able to pull things together to be able to enter Rally Finland. It’s one of the world’s classic events and, having gone well there previously in a two-wheel-drive car, I’m so looking forward to have the opportunity of driving the i20 this time.”

The car Tom will be driving is a brand new New Generation Hyundai i20 R5. It is owned and prepared by Sarrazin Motorsport, who will be supporting Tom on the event.

“As I haven’t driven this particular i20 before, I’m carrying out two days of testing on Sunday and Monday (23rd & 24th) on two different types of road – one with jumps and long straights for which the rally is so well known and the other with fast and flowing corners. I want to be as prepared as I can possibly be for this rally. We will be competing in the WRC2 category and to do well at this level will mean a great deal to me. It’s a very exciting prospect.”

Following the two days of testing, Tom and James will recce the stages on Tuesday and Wednesday, before taking part in the pre-event shakedown on Thursday morning. The rally begins with the Ceremonial Start in Jyväskylä that evening, followed by a short spectator stage.

The event then heads to the forests for 12 stages on Friday, a further eight on Saturday and four on Sunday. Combined, the rally’s 25 stages provide a competitive distance of 315kms.

Tom’s Rally Finland campaign is supported by: the Trefeddian Hotel, DMACK Tyres, Walero UK and Atech Racing, in conjunction with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.
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Following his participation in this weekend’s Ypres Rally, the fourth round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, British rally driver Tom Cave is pleased to announce that he is to enter this year’s Rally Finland driving a New Generation Hyundai i20 R5. For Aberdovey-based Tom and his co-driver James Morgan from Hirwaun, this classic event in the FIA World Rally Championship calendar will represent their first WRC outing in the Hyundai.

A great start to the Belgian event on Friday evening for the Welsh pair saw them rise from fifth to third of the British Championship crews during the eight-stage opening leg. They also held a position of 10th in the overall event, an impressive performance with this their first-all asphalt rally in the Hyundai after two previous gravel outings on the Pirelli and Scottish Rallies.

With a number of competitors caught out by the unforgiving West Flanders roads, in contrast Tom and James had dialed themselves in perfectly and consequently increased their position by one in both categories on Saturday morning. Whilst holding a position of 2nd of the BRC runners and 9th overall, what was later found to be a fuel related issue meant that stage 11 was to be their last of the weekend.

Once again, the timesheets had shown that the combination of Cave, Morgan and the Hyundai are a front-running package. Following the event, Tom said:

“Of course, after such a promising start it’s disappointing not to get to the end of the rally – especially as we had a great chance of a podium result – if not winning. The car performed really well and I was pleased that I felt as much at home in it on tarmac as I do on gravel.

“We completed the first half of the rally with no issues whatsoever and it provided us with excellent experience of the car on asphalt. I therefore take a lot of positives away from the event.”

Due to other Hyundai crews suffering accidents in Belgium, it has meant that a car cannot now be made available for Tom to participate in this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. He and James will now focus their attentions on Rally Finland, which takes place from 27th to 30th July, when they are determined to deliver the result they deserve:

“It’s great to have been able to put together a package for our first WRC outing in the i20 R5 . The last time I competed in Rally Finland was in 2015 and on that occasion I won the DMACK Drive Trophy. It’s an event that I enjoy and it suits my driving style, so it’s great to have the opportunity to now do it a competitive R5 car.”

Tom’s 2017 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: the Trefeddian Hotel, DMACK Tyres, Walero UK and Atech Racing.  Further news regarding his 2017 Rally Finland outing will be announced soon.

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Following his two previous outings in the car, it is now confirmed that Tom Cave will drive a New Generation Hyundai i20 R5 on the fourth round of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, the Belgium-based Ypres Rally on 23rd & 25th June. It is also confirmed that the Welshman from Aberdovey will compete in the same car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a week later.

After an impressive display of speed during the early stages of the Pirelli and Scottish rallies, rounds two and three of the British Rally Championship, Cave is pleased to be continuing his association with the Hyundai for the two forthcoming events:

“It’s great to be back in the Hyundai for the next round of the Championship. Having won every stage we’ve started in the car, it’s clear that it has the pace to win, so it’s going to be exciting to drive it competitively for the first time on asphalt.

“Because of the way our campaign is structured this season, we can only confirm each event as it gets closer to the day, so it’s great to be able to announce two events together this time. Of course, I’m hoping to continue to drive the Hyundai for the rest of the season and really show what the car is capable of.”

The Ypres Rally represents the first of three all-asphalt events in the British Rally Championship season and the first time Cave and his co-driver James Morgan from Hirwaun, will have completed on a non-gravel surface in the Hyundai. Held over closed public roads in the West Flanders area, the event also marks the first time the British Championship has ever featured a point-scoring round outside the UK, apart from the Circuit of Ireland that used to include stages in the Republic.

As soon as the car returns from Belgium, it will be re-prepared and converted back to gravel specification in readiness for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This globally famous occasion that attracts the best names in motorsport from all over the world, features a specially constructed rally stage on which Cave has been invited to compete by the event organisers.

“It’s a real privilege to be invited to take part in this prestigious annual event. I’ve competed at the Festival of Speed before and it’s a great experience, so I’m delighted that I’m going be showcasing the i20 R5 in such a high profile environment.”

The car will be prepared and run on both occasions by Dom Buckley RSC.

Tom’s 2017 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: the Trefeddian Hotel, DMACK Tyres, Walero UK and Atech Racing.

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