IT has been confirmed that Tom Cave will drive an Hyundai Motorsport i20 R5 on the forthcoming Pirelli International Rally, which is the second round of the Prestone British Rally Championship.
The event, that takes place on 29/30 April, marks the car’s first ever appearance at this level of competition in the UK.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to debut this car in a round of the British Rally Championship”, said Cave.
“The Hyundai has previously been seen on rounds of the WRC - including Rally GB - and other overseas events, so I am delighted to be the first drive it in the BRC.”
The New Generation i20 R5 is to be supplied and run by an experienced private Hyundai Motorsport customer team, who compete regularly in national championships across Europe.
Cave is scheduled to carry out a substantial test in the car ahead of the Kielder Forest-based event.
“Having been developed throughout the course of 2016, the i20 R5 has already proved it can be competitive and, because it’s the first time for the car in the BRC, I’m expecting it to attract a lot of attention,” he said.
“I’m therefore intending to do the best job I can for everyone involved and to show the car in the best way possible.”
The drive in the Hyundai is currently just for one event and therefore the 25 year-old hopes that a good result and the exposure surrounding it will give momentum to his season.
“Having finished second last year, the aim is to be able to continue in the BRC for the whole season, as I believe I have an opportunity to fight for the title,” he said.
“I therefore hope that with a good result, the drive in the i20 will lead on to other things - hopefully in another Hyundai!”
Cave, will be partnered this season by his co-driver from 2016, James Morgan.
“I’m delighted James will be joining me again,” he said. “Whilst the team and the car that I’m driving will change this season, it’s great that with James the consistency will be maintained inside the car.”
Cave’s Hyundai drive next month will be supported by DMACK Tyres, Trefeddian Hotel, Walero and Atech Racing.
Meanwhile the Aberdyfi ace is fired-up ahead of the first round of the BRC after a confidence building 2016, taking four podiums and being the only driver - other than WRC star Elfyn Evans - to burst through the 100 point mark in the standings. With Evans graduating to the world stage, the path is clear for a new champion to be crowned.
“Last year was successful,” enthused Cave. “To finish second behind Elfyn was the best we could have hoped for and beyond all expectations.
"This time last year we had to learn everything – a new team, new car and new co-driver. We couldn’t live with Elfyn and Fredrik [Ahlin] initially but, as I gelled with the team and James, the results started to come.
“By the Scottish Rally we had really started to get into our stride and we were outright second best and showed good pace right up to the end of the season.”
The Aberdyfi-based driver knows the Fiesta R5 well and he believes everything is in place to mount a strong charge from the word ‘go’ in Scotland - with the series blasting off this week, with the Border Counties Rally on 17/18 March.
“I think I can fight at the front once again. We have not done a full event since September but I did a small test in January and it felt like I had not been away,” he said. “I feel very comfortable and I am ready for a fight on the Border Counties.
“I have done a lot of rallies in the Fiesta R5 and I have all the ingredients to compete to win and come back with a bang.
“It looks like the BRC will be well supported again and it’s an excellent proving ground for young drivers. Elfyn proved that. The level of competition this year is destined to provide some great battles.”