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Tom confirms Wales Rally GB entry

Wednesday, 12 September 2018 by

Welsh driver Tom Cave is pleased to announce that he has entered this year’s Wales Rally GB, which takes place from 4th – 7th October. He will drive a PCRS run Hyundai i20 R5 and will be partnered by his regular co-driver James Morgan.

Tom from Aberdovey and James from Hirwaun enjoyed a busy season in 2017, when they gave the Hyundai 120 R5 its British Rally Championship debut and then went on to finish third in WRC2 on Rally Finland. They then repeated the result on Wales Rally GB driving a Fiesta R5.

In contrast, 2018 has seen a far quieter season for the Welsh pair. In addition to an outing early in the year driving his own Subaru, Tom entered July’s Nicky Grist Stages, when he and James impressed with a front-running performance in a Spencer Sport R5 specification Mitsubishi Mirage.

Eager to get back onto the world stage, Tom has since focused his attentions on securing an entry in Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Thanks to support from DMack tyres, Trailhead Fine Foods, Pre-eminent Solutions, H.N. Nuttall Foodservice, Cave Equine, Atech, Walero and Philip Case Rally Sport – who will supply and run the car – he has been able to enter the event.

“With Wales Rally GB my home round of the WRC and after James and I finished on the WRC2 podium last year, I’m extremely pleased that everything has come together in time for us to enter this year’s event and I have to thank everyone involved for their invaluable support.

“This year marks the 10th anniversary of Tom competing on a World Championship rally and my ninth time contesting the Wales Rally GB, which makes this year’s entry even more significant.

“It’s great to be back in a Hyundai i20 R5. The last time I drove the car was in Rally Finland last year and we finished third in WRC2.  The Hyundai really suits my driving style, so I’m hoping with a latest-specification model and the previous results behind me, James and I can be even more competitive this year.”

Trailhead Fine Foods are using Tom’s Wales Rally GB campaign to launch its new Get Jerky snack. Furthermore, the company will be providing all of the event’s 2000+ marshals with a complementary pack containing its brand new product. Samples will be available from the Wales Rally GB office located in the Deeside service park.

Tom Cave and James Morgan showed they had lost none of their former pace, when they recorded the fastest time on the first of eight stages on Saturday’s (14th July) Nicky Grist Stages Rally. Following a day long battle for the lead, they went on to cross the line in second place. But having reached the finish, their convincing podium position was denied when, due to an admin oversight by the co-driver, the Welsh pair were disqualified for infringing an event regulation.

After a successful test in the Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage last week, Tom was more than ready to make his return to the stages in a R5 specification car following a nine-month sabbatical since he and James finished third in the WRC2 category in October’s Wales Rally GB.
Saturday’s event featured a loop of four stages on the gravel roads on and around the Epynt Military Ranges in the morning, followed by the same loop of four in the afternoon. Seeded at number one, things started perfectly for Tom and James. In the dry and dusty conditions, they set the fastest time on the opening stage and consequently led the rally by two seconds, ahead of current British Rally Championship leaders Matt Edwards and Darren Garrod in a Fiesta R5.

During the following three stages before the lunch time service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, Tom and James delivered another first and two second-fastest times, which enabled them to maintain their lead by two seconds at the half-way point. Following a quick check around the car by the Spencer Sport team, they embarked on the afternoon’s four stages and, like the weather, the battle between them and their main rivals got even hotter.

In fact, on stage five both crews set exactly the same time, four seconds faster than anyone else. Still with a two-second advantage, Tom knew it would be flat to the finish and, although he and James pushed as hard as they could through the remaining three stages, they could not hold off Edwards/Garrod who fought back to take the win.

But on returning to Builth Wells, unknowingly Tom and James found that they had contravened an event regulation due to a rare co-driver error and were consequently disqualified from the results.  Although a conclusion they and the team would not have wished for, Tom and James were pleased they had been able to get straight back to a front-running pace. The team were also happy that the stage times clearly proved the Mitsubishi Mirage was a match for any other R5 class car.

“Whilst the final outcome was of course, not what we had wanted, rallying is a complicated sport with lots of rules and regulations, so these things can and do happen”, said Tom at the finish.

“It was great to be back in an R5 specification car alongside James who did his usual great job on the notes. And to be straight back on the pace right from the start was very reassuring to us both.

“The Mirage has really progressed into a competitive car and the stage times prove it. It’s great to drive and I hope I have the opportunity to enter another event with it soon.

“I have to thank everyone involved who made this event happen for us: Spencer Sport, Spencer ECA, DMACK Tyres, Nicky Grist Motorsport, Walero Racewear, Atech Racing and the team’s sponsors: Oil for Wales, Speedline Wheels, Motul Lubricants and Sea & Slate.”
Further news about Tom’s next event will be announced soon.

ENDS

Photo: JMS Photographic

Tom Cave and co-driver James Morgan have been announced as the number one seeds for this Saturday’s (14th July) Nicky Grist Stages Rally, when they will compete in an R5 specification Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage.

The event will see the Welsh pair back in action for the first time since last October’s Wales Rally GB, when they finished an impressive third in the WRC2 category driving a Fiesta R5. With 2018 year of consolidation for Tom, he is relishing a return to the hot seat:

“As plans didn’t quite come together in time for the start of the season, I’m only intending to enter a few rallies in 2018. I’m therefore grateful to Spencer Sport for giving me an opportunity to get back out there and keep my hand in. Of course, I’ve worked with Spencer Sport before when we finished second in the British Rally Championship in 2016. It was a great team effort. Having led the event at one point, we also finished second on the Nicky Grist Stages in that year behind Elfyn Evans.”

Tom is mindful that with a 120-strong field, a number of previous event winners and crews in WRC cars taking part, it’s not going to be easy to score a top result and says he will have a better idea of what’s in store after he has tested the Mitsubishi on Thursday (12th July):

“I’ve driven the Mirage before but only in testing, so it’s great to now have the chance to compete in it too. I know there’s been a number of upgrades since I drove it last, so I’m looking forward to finding out what it’s like now, especially on a rally like the Nicky Grist Stages.”

The event represents round six of the BTRDA Rally Series and gets underway at 09.00 on Saturday from the centre of Builth Wells. The route incorporates the gravel roads and forests around the Epynt military ranges on the Brecon Beacons and features a loop of four timed special stages in the morning followed by a repeat run in the afternoon.

Tom’s Nicky Grist Stages outing is supported by: Spencer Sport, Spencer ECA, Nicky Grist Motorsport, DMack Tyres, Walero and Atech.

Tom Cave from Aberdovey, together with his co-driver James Morgan from Hirwaun, scored an impressive third-place finish in the fiercely contested WRC2 category on this year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. After three days of competition in the forests of Mid and North Wales, driving their Dom Buckley RSC prepared and M-Sport built Ford Fiesta R5, they crossed the finish line in Llandudno yesterday (Sunday 29th October) afternoon to claim their second podium position in as many FIA World Rally Championship events.

The rally started from the centre of Chester on Thursday evening and, to get proceedings off to a spectacular start, a short spectator stage watched by 1000s of fans was held at the Tir Prince leisure park and trotting track near Rhyl. But it was Friday when the real rally action began, kicking off with three classic stages in mid-Wales: Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren.

In the autumn sunshine – a welcome feature on this annual event – a strong run through the first loop saw Tom and James fourth in WRC2 and lying 17th overall after SS4. Then, on SS5 they moved up a place – even though they had a scare when the car’s engine cut out momentarily at the end of the stage. They consolidated their position over the day’s remaining two stages and, when they returned to the Deeside service park that evening, they were 46.4s behind already crowned 2017 WRC2 Champion Pontus Tidemand in a Skoda and only 3.3s away from Frenchman Eric Camilli in second place.

Saturday morning featured a loop of four stages, this time in the equally as classic north-Wales forests of Aberhinrnant, Dyfnant, Gartheineog and Dyfi – all of them Tom regarding as local rally territory. With mist and drizzle greeting crews, conditions were certainly different than that of the day before and consequently, with far less traction available, Tom thought he was off the pace – only to find that everyone else was experiencing similar issues. In fact, he and James were in the ascendancy and went ahead of Camilli on stage 11, the first run through Dyfi and then went on to set the fastest WRC2 time in SS13 – the second run through the same 25.86km stage.

The day of intense forest action was punctuated with a 1.8km blast in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle on the park’s asphalt roads – another stage designed to for the less hardcore rally fan. Following brief check and refuel at Deeside, it was then back to the forests for a second run through Aberhirnant and Dyfnant, but this time in the dark.

However the weather had changed and thick fog – sometimes cutting visibility to less than 10m – led Tom to report it was possibly the worst stage he had ever driven! The second stage was clear, but it had meant that time was lost to Tidemand who had had a clear run and was now 1m 43s ahead, with Camilli remaining seven seconds behind the Welsh pair when competitors returned to Deeside for the overnight halt.

With little chance of catching the Swedish team, consolidation was the order of the day for Sunday’s four stages: Alwen, Brenig and Gwydir, followed by a second longer run and through Brenig as the final ‘Power’ stage. But with Tom reporting the handling of the car felt different that it had done on Friday and Saturday, Camilli edged past on the 19th and penultimate stage. Try as they might, Tom and James could not retrieve the difference, but both were delighted they had achieved what they had set out to do, the final result seeing them finish 3rd in WRC2 category and 13th in the event overall.

“That’s mission accomplished’, said Tom as he and James lined up in Llandudno High Street before crossing the finish ramp. “We came here looking to end the season on a high, so to score a WRC2 podium in the two WRC events we’ve entered this year’s is fantastic, especially against world-class drivers that have factory support. It’s as much as we could have hoped for and I’m over the moon with the result.

“It’s even more rewarding to do it on your local event. The fans were out on mass and it was great to see so much support. Of course, it was fantastic day for Welsh rallying and I must congratulate Elfyn Evans and his co-driver Daniel Barrit for claiming their first WRC victory – and what a place to do it!  Congratulations also go to M-Sport (the team that builds the Fiestas) for securing both the World manufacturers’ and Drivers’ title on this event.

“As well as thanking the fans for cheering us on, I must also thank everyone who supported me. Firstly, to James for doing yet another fantastic job from the other seat; to Dom Buckley RSC for providing us with such a such a well prepared car; to DMACK for supplying tyres that not only helped us get onto the WRC2 podium, but enabled Elfyn to claim his outright win; to Walero for supplying the extremely effective temperature controlling base-layers; to Atech Racing for the top quality racewear and to the Trefeddian Hotel in Aberdovey.”

ENDS

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