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For two days in the middle of May, Hyundai UK invited us to take part in its Spring Drive Event, where journalists and key personnel were given the chance to experience the latest range of Hyundai cars – and discover what it’s like to ride in a rally car.

The event was based at a farm about ten miles north of Banbury that featured a superbly converted barn where guests were welcomed in the morning before embarking on a series of pre-determined routes in various Hyundai models. Our role was to provide the attendees with demonstration rides in our i20 R5 in between their test drives.

To do this, we set up a stage at a nearby quarry, which provided a perfect ‘Ken Block’ style venue where we could put the car through its paces and give our passengers a ride they’ll never forget. Whilst some had previously experienced what it’s like to be strapped into the co-driver’s seat and driven at almost full rally-speeds around a stage, for others it was their first time. Either way, it would be fair to say that without exception everyone was blown away by the experience.

“This is the first time we’ve worked with Hyundai UK and we were delighted to be invited to be involved with this event. PCRS came over form Ireland with the Hyundai i20 R5 we’ve been using for this year’s British Rally Championship, so for the guests, it was the real deal.

“We ran almost non-stop over the two days in what were very dry and dusty conditions, which meant that from the photos it looked like we were competing somewhere overseas. We took out well over 30 journalists and Hyundai personnel, including the company’s chief European designer and the UK managing director.

“Other than the car needing fuel towards the end of the second day, the team didn’t have to do a thing to it, which considering we covered the same mileage as a British Championship round in ‘Safari-like’ conditions, was an impressive statistic.

“We’ve had some great feedback since the event and there’s been some excellent media coverage. We therefore look forward to doing more with Hyundai UK in the future.”

Photos by Matt Vosper.

Tom Cave achieved exactly what he set out to do this weekend, when he recorded his second British Rally Championship victory in succession by winning Saturday’s (27th April) Pirelli International Rally. He and co-driver Dale Bowen took the lead after stage two and went on to win the third round of the season by an impressive margin of 17.6 seconds – a result that sees Tom top the championship’s drivers table by seven points at the season’s halfway point.

Following a victory on an asphalt surface last time out, Tom was eager to do the same on gravel. However, with competition coming from top UK drivers such as Matt Edwards in a Ford Fiesta and David Bogie and Rhys Yates in Skoda Fabias – plus the appearance of Finish driver Jari Huttenen in an identical PCRS-run Hyundai 120 R5 to that of Tom’s – it was never going to be a straightforward affair.

Following the showcase start at the Pirelli factory on the outskirts of Carlisle, teams headed into Kielder Forest for the first of the day’s six stages. Taking into account a slow puncture and a misting windscreen in the damp conditions, Tom and Dale were pleased to emerge from the opening run in second place, just 1.4 seconds behind Huttenen.

But at the end of the second stage the tables were turned, when the Fin spun and dropped 20 seconds. Tom and Dale set the fastest time and consequently, entered the first service halt of the day 15.3 seconds ahead of their closest rivals, Matt Edwards/Patrick Walsh.

Another good run for the Welsh pair through stage three was only briefly interrupted when they caught and passed Edwards/Walsh who had sustained two punctures – a factor that not only dropped the round-one winners down the leaderboard, but eventually led to their retirement.

Another fastest time through stage four meant that when they arrived at the second service halt, Tom and Dale were 20.5 seconds ahead of second-placed Yates and Tom’s co-driver in West Cork James Morgan.

It was now a case of consolidation and taking clean lines through the corners in order to minimise the risk of punctures for the event’s remaining two stages – and that’s exactly what Tom and Dale did. Following a perfectly executed final two runs, they arrived at the finish control in Brampton a few miles east of Carlisle, a convincing 17.6 seconds ahead of Yates/Morgan and a further 21.9 seconds ahead of David Bogie/John Rowan in third.

“It’s great to have scored two wins on the bounce, especially one on asphalt and one on gravel. I haven’t won the Pirelli International Rally before, so I’m pleased to have laid that spectre to rest. Things really went according to plan and, after taking the lead on stage two, it was a case of managing the gap for the rest of the day.

“The car ran faultlessly throughout the event and I have to thank the PCRS team for all their hard work. This result is testimony to their efforts.  Also helping us achieve what we did today were the Michelin tyres that worked extremely well in the ever-changing weather and surface conditions.

“I’m also pleased for Dale too, as this was his very first outright rally win and I have to thank him for doing such a fantastic job not only in the car, but during the lead up to the rally as well.

“It’s great to now lead the championship with three rallies done and three more to go. The race for the title is now well and truly on!”

The fourth round of the British Rally Championship sees competitors head overseas for the second all-asphalt surface encounter of the season, the Renties Ypres Rally. This hugely popular, high profile, annual Belgian event takes place over two days on 28th & 29th June.

Tom’s 2019 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Michelin Motorsport, H.N. Nuttall Foodservice, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino, Atech Racing, Walero and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.

ENDS

British Rally Championship Round Three – Preview
Pirelli International Rally – 27th April 2019

Following his victorious run on last month’s West Cork Rally – the second round of the British Rally Championship – Tom now sets his sights firmly on round three, this Saturday’s (28th April) Pirelli International Rally. Having scored maximum BRC points on asphalt last time out, a second win as the surface reverts to gravel is exactly what the Aberdovey-based driver is looking for to consolidate his bid for the British title.

Reunited with co-driver Dale Bowen – who had to miss round two – Tom will be driving the same Philip Case Rally Sport prepared Hyundai 120 R5 that he used in Wales for round one and in Ireland for round two. Reacquainting himself to the car, he tested it in Kielder Forest on Wednesday on roads similar to those he will encounter this weekend:

“We had a very good test and ran through our-pre-event programme. The Hyundai felt great and the Michelin tyres worked well. However, I’ve never seen the roads in Kielder so dry and abrasive. If things stay like this it will make for a very interesting event.”

Tom and Dale are seeded at #2 on Saturday and consequently, will start the event behind current championship leader Matt Edwards in a Fiesta. They are followed at #3 by former British Champion David Bogie in a Skoda and Finnish driver Jari Huttenen at #4, who is making a one-off appearance in the BRC behind the wheel of another PCRS-run Hyundai.

“The third event of the season sees another to-quality entry”, explains Tom. “Whilst it adds to the pressure, it makes for great competition and because of that, if you do well it’s even more satisfying.

“It also means there’s no room for error and it’s flat out from the start. We’re as ready as we can be, so our aim is to carry on from where we left off in West Cork – and we can do no more than that.”

The Pirelli Rally starts in Carlisle on Saturday morning and features 63.35 competitive miles split into seven stages, held over the distinctive gravel roads that are a hallmark of Kielder Forest. The rally concludes in the evening with a high profile finish ceremony in Brampton, a few miles east of the host town.

Tom’s 2019 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Michelin Motorsport, H.N. Nuttall Foodservice, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino, Atech Racing, Walero and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.

Tom Cave and his co-driver James Morgan won round two of the British Rally Championship on this weekend’s Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally, the result putting Tom’s chase for the BRC title firmly back on track. The event also hosted a round of the Irish Tarmac Championship and therefore, the Welsh pair’s third place overall against many of Ireland’s top drivers, underlined the strength of their performance.

Proceedings began on Friday evening with a ceremonial start in the centre of Clonakitly, the event’s host town, with the action getting underway on Saturday morning in extremely wet and windy conditions. Right from the word go, Tom from Aberdovey and James from Hirwaun made their intentions clear by setting the third-fastest overall time on the first stage.

A braking issue on stage two slowed them slightly, but with the Hyundai working well and Michelin tyres providing exceptional grip, another third-fastest time on stage three was followed by a second-fastest time on stage six. These three impressive runs pushed them back up to third overall and more importantly, they were now the first of the BRC crews ahead of the day’s final loop of three stages.

However, the Welshmen’s charge was diluted a little due to a puncture on stage seven, which allowed their arch BRC rivals Matt Edwards/Patrick Walsh to nip past. Another third fastest time on stage eight meant Tom and James ended the day fourth overall and second BRC crew, albeit by a slender 6.8 seconds.

In contrast to the previous day, Sunday dawned dry and bright and Tom and James focused on the task in hand: to get back ahead of Edwards/Walsh. And on stage 10 – the first of the day – that’s exactly what they did, with a second fastest overall time that elevated them into third place overall and put them 1.2 seconds ahead of their BRC rivals.

But over the next two stages Edwards/Walsh fought back and at the lunchtime service halt, Tom and James were 1.4 seconds behind. With a re-run of the morning’s three stages remaining, the Welsh pair knew exactly what they had to do…

They were fastest overall through the next stage, beating their rivals by 1.4 seconds and therefore, putting them dead-level to the tenth of a second! But Tom and James were not finished yet and another fastest overall time through stage 14 pushed them ahead by 4.9 seconds.

It was now all down to the final stage and, with Edwards/Walsh ony 0.1 second quicker, the outcome was settled: Tom and James had won the BRC battle by 4.8 seconds and in doing so, scored maximum championship points and provided the Hyundai i20 R5 with its first ever British Rally Championship victory. At the finish a delighted Tom said:

“It feels brilliant to win a round of the British Rally Championship again. We had an intense battle with Matt and Patrick throughout the event and that meant we really had to fight hard to come out on top.

“The first day was very challenging as we were also battling against the elements, but having taken some fastest BRC times I knew the pace was there. We ended Saturday in a good position for Sunday’s stages and on the dry roads I was able to push even harder. The Hyundai felt great and the Michelin tyres were working perfectly, so once we were in front I felt confident we could hang on to the lead.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend and this result really has put my championship title chase back on track. I must thank James Morgan for doing a great job and the PCRS team for providing me with such a good car. I must also congratulate the rally organisers for putting on such a well-run event and the marshals for sticking with it in the wind and rain on Saturday morning. I must also extend a special thanks to all of our supporting partners. This result is for them.”

The next event in the British Rally Championship calendar is the Carlisle-based Pirelli Rally, which takes place on 27th April and sees the surface change back to gravel, as competitors take on the notoriously demanding high-speed stages in Kielder Forest.
Tom’s 2019 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: Trailhead Fine Foods and their Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Michelin Motorsport, H.N. Nuttall Foodservice, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino, Castell Howell, Atech Racing, Walero and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.

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