MSA British Rally Championshio leader Tom Cave will head to Northen Ireland later this week, as he contests the Toddsleap International Rally, the fifth and penultimate round of the 2012 series. The 20 Year Old Welshman starts the tarmac event as joint leader of the series and knows that a solid result, and hence points haul, is essential as he targets the coveted BRC championship title in his Citroen DS3 R3.
While the BRC has had a 11-Week Summer break, Tom has used the time well; he won the Rally of Thailand as a works driver for PROTON Motorsports and also won the Coracle Stages Rally, his third win in a row on the event.
However, he is also keenly aware that this weekend will be a stern test. Despite leading the standings along with fellow Welshman Elfyn Evans, formwe BRC champion Keith Cronin is only two points adrift and is likely to be a favourite on what will be the closest rally to his ‘home’ event.
Tom’s plan is simple; replicate his most recent round of the BRC, the Jim Clark Rally, the series’ other tarmac event. He aims to establish a pace on the first leg, Friday, which keeps him towards the front of the timesheets then adjust that as necessary to achieve the best result possible on Saturday, the second and final day of the event.
Commenting, Tom said; “I’m feeling quietly confident at this stage. I feel that recently, my driving is the best it has ever been and that helps my confidence enormously. My tarmac performance also seems to have improved over the last year or so, so I’m aiming for a top three finish in Ulster.
“It’s not going to be easy though, that’s for sure. There are a lot of very quick drivers out there. Keith [Cronin] is likely to be the pace-setter and he’s only a couple of points behind us in the championship. Elfyn [Evans] is also quick and very consistent and there’s also people like Guy Wilks doing the event, in a car which can be very competitive.
“I think the plan is to be on the pace on Friday for the first six stages so that I’m not on the back foot for Saturday. Sensible but fast with no mistakes.”
The event begins with a ceremonial start in Antrim before six stages on Friday 17 August, with two runs over three roads separated by a service. Then on Saturday, the crews will face eight further stages, again run as two loops of four before the first crews are expected to arrive at the finish at 17.40hrs.