By Paul Evans
Tom Cave may have lost out on his British Rally Championship title fight with defending, and now back-to-back champion, Matt Edwards, but the Aberdyfi ace certainly went down fighting by winning the Galloway Hills Rally in style.
Cave delivered a perfect performance on the Scottish gravel event by setting the fastest time on all eight forest stages in his Hyundai i20 R5 and, in doing so, record his third victory of the season by almost a minute.
It was all he and co-driver Dale Bowen could do in order to give themselves the best chance of claiming this year’s British title, but with their main Edwards (co-driven by Patrick Walsh) finishing third, it means they end the season in second place.
“To be quickest on all the stages and win without any problems is the best result you can hope for,” said Cave. “We pushed from the start and did everything we could to keep a grip on the title, but the difference in points between Matt and I was just too much. We didn’t lose the title today, it was the DNFs on round one, the Cambrian Rally and round five in Ulster that set us back.
“To have completely rebuilt the Hyundai in three weeks following our off in Ulster – and then for it to run faultlessly throughout this event – is a fantastic achievement and testimony to the PCRS team’s hard work and professionalism. Today’s win is for them.
“After three victories, one on asphalt and two on gravel, we’ve proved that the Hyundai i20 R5 is capable of winning in the British Rally Championship. And whilst we didn’t quite get our hands on the title, it’s great to have finished the season on a high.
“There are so many people I would like to thank for making our 2019 British Rally Championship campaign happen: Trailhead Fine Foods and its Get Jerky snack brand, Cambrian Training, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Michelin Motorsport, Shukers Hyundai of Aberystwyth Ponsse UK, H.N. Nuttall Foodservice, Go Fetch Ltd, Intervino and Atech Racing. We couldn’t have done it without you!”
Despite the BRC setback, Cave goes into the forthcoming Wales Rally GB (3-6 October) on fantastic form, and eager to prove his ability against the very best FIA World Rally Championship drivers. Something that he has done on more than one occasion already!