Tom Cave will return to the World Rally Championship next week, when he takes part in Rally Poland.
Following a complete re-build of his Group N Ford Fiesta and two successful UK tarmac outings since his last WRC outing in Portugal, the 17-year-old is looking forward to getting back on the world stage and to getting back on gravel.
“The Polish stages look very similar to those in Latvia, where I competed for two years, so I'm hoping that my experience there will help me next weekend,” said Cave, who has been watching some videos of the tests that make up the event.
“The stages look a little narrower than Latvia with more crests and a lot of people liken it to Rally Finland but without the jumps. The surface also looks quite sandy, so while it will probably be okay for the front-runners, it may well end up fairly rutted by the time we get there.”
The event is a round of the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International, the one-make series featuring the same specification Fiestas as Cave's. Therefore, he is also looking forward to mixing it with the FSTi regulars once again, as he did in the few stages his car held together in Portugal, where he was consistently in the top three Fiesta stage times.
“As Poland is a round of the Fiesta series, I'd like to think that we can be in amongst the action with the regulars,” he continued. “If we could be in the top three Fiestas, that would be ideal.
“However, what I'm really after is a solid result, after the disaster in Portugal and to prove that last year's Wales Rally GB result wasn't a one-off. I think next weekend, we'll drive our own event on the first leg then assess where we are and whether to up the game and push for a result.”
There will be another variable for Tom next weekend too, since neither of the two co-drivers who have worked with him recently, regular Gemma Price and stand-in Phil Pugh, are available.
Therefore, another highly experienced and professional co-driver, Craig Parry, will co-drive for him in Poland. While the two haven't competed together before, Parry has been working in Poland with a local driver for the last two years, so his local knowledge and experience combined with Cave's drive and pace should stand the crew well on the Polish stages.
There's also another good reason for the youngster to get a good result and keep his Fiesta in one piece as he has been invited to display his car on the International Rally Drivers Club stand at the world-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed the weekend after and drive it on the event's famous rally stage.