Tom Cave will make history when he takes to the starting ramp for the Wales Rally GB, as the 17-year-old prepares to become the youngest driver to start an UK FIA World Rally Championship event.
Cave, who has an International Rally license issued by the Latvian Autombile Federation after two years of competition in the country, will compete in a Group N Ford Fiesta on the event after passing his UK driving test.
Cave, who only turned 17 last week, needed to acquire his driving license in order to drive on the roads between the stages and now he has fulfilled that requirement, he is preparing for his high-profile WRC debut.
“It was such a relief to pass the test,” he said. “In the run-up to it, I tried to stay as focused and positive as possible, concentrating on passing the test, rather than allowing myself to think about failing.
“As I walked to the car with the examiner, he mentioned that he'd seen a report on Sky that morning about my rallying, so I hoped that didn't prejudice my chances. In the end, I made seven minor faults, out of an allowance of up to 15 and was immensely relieved.
“Now that the test is out of the way, it means that I can concentrate on preparing for the rally and everything that goes along with that. There are so many things to consider now, not least of which is getting as much experience driving on the roads and preparing myself physically for what will be a very challenging three days.”
Cave has already carried out a two-day test in Wales, but he is now looking forward to getting to grips with the real thing.
“I can't begin to explain how much this event means to me; to be competing on my home round of the WRC, on stages which are in some cases just a few miles from home, alongside the best drivers in the world is an extraordinary opportunity. I can remember watching the event with my father and back then, I never could have imagined that I would be doing the same, just a few days after my 17th birthday.
“The support I have had from my father and the rest of my family, as well as the Latvian Automobile Federation and of course, Gemma has been incredible and is what has allowed me to be in this unique situation. I'll never be able to thank him or them enough for making this possible.”