Tom Cave in Latvian Rally

It’s go, go go for Welshman Tom Cave in Latvian Rally Championship

Next weekend sees the start of Welsh schoolboy Tom Cave’s 2008 international rally campaign, as he takes part in the Kekava Rally, as a final shakedown test for the start of his 2008 Latvian Rally Championship campaign. Cave, the UK’s first minor international rally driver, missed the first round due to a sports injury but feels he has never been more ready to start a sporting programme than he is now. The 16 year-old Cave, from Aberdovey in Mid-Wales, will be competing in Latvia for the second year, having used 2007 as an information-gathering exercise. Running as part of the Junior Rallying scheme, Cave will be competing alongside two other young Brits on this event that forms part of the Latvian Rallysprint Championship.

However, while his Junior Rallying team-mates are competing in that championship, Cave will be using the event as a final opportunity to establish a base set-up in his Fiesta for next month’s Talsi Rally, the second round of the National Championship. Cave has already spent a considerable amount of time testing the Group N Fiesta in the UK but feels that competing on the Kekava Rally will not only provide the perfect opportunity to finalise the car’s settings under actual competition conditions, it will also make sure that he is match-fit for the start of the National championship one month later.

“I haven’t competed in a rally since last October,” said Cave “and so I’m very excited about getting back into a rally car. I’ve done quite a lot of testing with the Fiesta but no actual competition, so I am also very excited to see what it, and I am capable of.

“We’ll be using this event to establish a base setting for the car ready for our first event in the National championship and to get to know it under actual competition conditions. As we know, testing is very useful but there is no substitute for actual competition mileage and getting the maximum experience possible this weekend is the objective.”

The event takes place outside the Latvian capital of Riga and sees 50 competitive kilometres run over two stages on the evening of Saturday 19 April followed by the remainder of the timed tests on Sunday 20 April. While he has not competed on this event before, Cave did drive on a rally relatively close to this one in 2007 and hopes that the conditions will be similar.

“I did the Rally Cesis last year. The conditions there were quite soft and sandy, so I hope that may give me some idea of the likely conditions on the Kekava. But of course, the weather is a big factor. It is wet at the moment and if it stays like that, it could be very tricky and messy. However, if it dries out, then hopefully the ground should drain well and it won’t be quite as difficult.”