Tom Cave mixed it with some of the best rally drivers in the world last weekend, when he took part in the world famous Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Cave ran his Fiesta on the Forest Rally Stage of the event, alongside reigning World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb and Intercontinental Rally Challenge leader, Kris Meeke.
The 17-year-old driver had been invited to display his car on the International Rally Drivers Club stand at the event, helping the club to promote the interests of members and the sport of rallying to the huge crowds expected at what has become the UK's, if not the world's leading motorsport event.
However, Cave was also privileged to receive an invitation from the Earl of March to actually drive on the stage itself - something of a coveted honour, since drivers can only take part at Goodwood by invitation.
While his car may not have been as clean as some of the other others - it had travelled straight to Goodwood from the eighth round of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Poland, where Tom had taken class N3 stage wins on 13 of the 15 stages he contested before engine problems - Tom was on the same form that he showed the previous weekend. After a couple of familiarisation laps, he began posting times on par or better than the assembled 'Giants of modern rallying' drivers.
On Saturday, the youngster was privileged to run behind reigning WRC champ Loeb on the stage, as well as ahead of IRC leader Kris Meeke, both of whom had driven up the famous hillclimb course before attacking the forest stage.
“This was an incredible weekend. It was a real privilege to be invited to not only attend the event by the IRDC but then, to actually drive on the rally stage by Lord March. Everyone involved in the event was extremely friendly, helpful and professional and the atmosphere was fantastic,” said Cave.
“It was excellent to be mingling with some of the best drivers, as well as some outstanding machinery, on the forest stage over the weekend. We also had a lot of interest from visitors to the event – there seemed to be a lot more people who knew about us at Goodwood and we ended up handing out most of the postcards we took with us.
“I have to say a huge thanks to the IRDC for inviting us to attend this weekend. For us, it's fantastic for an organisation like that to recognise us and to be doing what it can to promote our amazing sport.”