for second round of Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy
Welsh rally driver Tom Cave, from Aberdovey, is looking forward to the second round of the 2014 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy, as the series heads east for the second round, the 71st Rally of Poland. Tom has fond memories of the event, having contested it in 2009, the last time it formed part of the FIA World Rally Championship, where he won all but one of the stages he drove competitively in his class but mechanical problems cost him a representative result.
Tom will again be partnered by Craig Parry this year, as he was in 2009 although this was one of the first events the pair contested together. Driving a Group N Ford Fiesta ST in the N3 class, Tom and Craig claimed the win on all but one of the stages that they drove and finished 16 minutes behind the eventual class winner, despite losing 25 minutes in penalties thanks to a failed cylinder head gasket and engine overheating.
The route in 2014 is approximately 60% the same as it was in 2009 so Tom is hoping that this will give him and Craig a slight advantage when it comes to the recce. Another help to the 22 year-old will be the two years he competed in Latvia at the start of his rally career; the stages in Latvia and Poland are very similar in surface and nature and again, Tom is hoping this will give him a head-start when it comes to the pre-event recce.
Since finishing second on the opening round in Portugal in April, Tom has been busy working on his physical fitness as well as carrying out a two-day test in a rented R2 Ford Fiesta in the UK. While this is not the actual Morris Lubricants-supported and equipped car that Tom uses in the DDFT, it is the same specification and allows him to determine the set-up for the event in Poland.
Commenting ahead of the event, Tom said; "2009 is a pretty long time ago in rallying but I'm glad that more than half the route is the same as we did back then. I already recognise some of the stages, so hopefully, that will give us a bit of a head-start when the recce begins.
"The rallies we did in Latvia will be a huge help as well. The stages there are very similar to the ones in Poland and we even did an event in Lithuania as part of the Latvian Rally Sprint series, so this rally might feel very familiar by the time we get there!
"Craig also has a lot of experience in Poland and we had a really good pre-event test in the UK so I'm as ready as I can be for this event. I'd like to think we might have a slight advantage but at the same time, we can't afford to take anything for granted. The other crews will be very quick and I expect Poland to be every bit as competitive as Portugal was.
"The aim in Poland is of course maximum points and to win the rally. I think we can challenge for the win; we did in Portugal and I hope we can do the same again. I don't think that preservation - of the car and the tyres - will be as important in Poland as it was in Portugal. I think everyone will be right on the pace from the first stage and carry that through the whole event.
"Of course, the ideal situation would be to try to establish an early lead and then control the pace of the event from the front but as we know, things don't always go according to plan in rallying."
The event begins with a ceremonial start in the centre of Mikolajki on Thursday 26 June before three special stages, including the first of four runs around the Mikolajki Arena superspecial. Friday 27 June sees seven stages, four of which are located in neighbouring Lithuania while Saturday 28 features eight more timed tests, including two runs on the 35Km Goldap stage. Finally, Sunday 29 June sees just four stages, culminating with the 15Km Power Stage before the finish ceremony at the Mikolajki Arena.
Thursday 26 June
SS1, Milki 1, 14.45Km
SS2, Kruklanki 1, 17.24Km
SS3, Mikolajki Arena Superspecial, 2.50Km
Friday 27 June
SS4, Wieliczki 1, 12.89Km
SS5, Kapciamiestis 1 (Lithuania), 26.61Km
SS6, Margionys 1(Lithuania), 17.97Km
SS7, Kapciamiestis 2 (Lithuania), 26.61Km
SS8, Margionys 2(Lithuania), 17.97Km
SS9, Wieliczki 1, 12.89Km
SS10, Mikolajki Arena Superspecial 2, 2.50Km
Saturday 28 June
SS11, Chmieiewo 1, 6.75Km
SS12, Stare Juchy 1, 14.41Km
SS13, Babki 1, 15.75Km
SS14, Goldap 1, 35.17Km
SS15, Baranowo 1, 14.90Km
SS16, Chmieiewo 1, 6.75Km
SS17, Stare Juchy 1, 14.41Km
SS18, Babki 1, 15.75Km
SS19, Goldap 1, 35.17Km
SS20, Mikolajki Arena Superspecial 3, 2.50Km
Sunday 29 June
SS21, Milki 1, 14.45Km
SS22, Kruklanki 1, 17.24Km
SS23, Mikolajki Arena Superspecial, 2.50Km
SS24, Baranowo 2 (Power Stage), 14.90Km
Finish, Mikolajki Arena