Yokohama Rally Tyres “Performing Brilliantly”: Tom Cave
Following a Rally Poland with large measures of success and frustration, young British World Rally Championship driver Tom Cave reserved special praise for his tyre supplier Yokohama, which uniquely provides the rubber for his Ford Fiesta: “The Yokohama tyres worked extremely well for us this weekend. We used the 195 section tyres and the outright grip was exactly what we needed. The tyres were also incredibly consistent and stood up to the conditions exceptionally well. We had no damage or puncture issues at all and they were very hard wearing as well as performing brilliantly.”
The 17 year-old from Aberdovey won 13 of the 15 stages he contested in his class (Group N3, up to 2000cc), but was denied the class victory when the cylinder head gasket on his Ford Fiesta rally car failed on Saturday, meaning he had to retire from the second day and incur time penalties before rejoining and finishing the event on Sunday. Though disappointed with the result, Cave expressed his delighted with the pace that he, co-driver Craig Parry, the team and the Yokohama tyres had demonstrated over the weekend. Commenting after the finish, he said; “While I’m obviously extremely disappointed that we didn’t get the result we hoped for up until the problem with the engine, we can definitely take a lot of positives from this event. Fastest stage time in class with the exception of one proper stage shows that our notes were working very well and the car was perfect, except for the engine problem. I think this was the weekend where everything seemed to come together – at the beginning and the end, at any rate!”
The event began well for Cave and Parry. They set the fastest time in class N3 and of the eight Ford Fiestas competing on every stage but one that formed the first leg of the event. They ended the first day of the event with a lead in the N3 class of almost one minute and 40 seconds.
They continued where they left off on Leg Two, with the fastest time on both of the day’s opening stages. However, approaching the start of the day’s third stage, the 30Km Wydminy test, the temperature on their Ford Fiesta ST’s engine began to climb and they were forced to stop several times in the stage to top up the engine coolant, losing ten minutes in the process. They managed to limp back to service where it soon transpired that the head gasket had failed and the crew was forced to retire from the day, while the team set about removing the engine and replacing the head gasket.
The technicians eventually finished their work, so that Tom and Craig could restart for Leg Three under SupeRally regulations. However, the ten minutes lost on SS10 combined with the further 15 minutes of penalties for the three missed stages (five minutes per stage), dropped him well down the order, to seventh in class.
With the car now back on song, Tom and Parry picked up where they left off, claiming the stage win in the N3 class on each and every stage that made up the final leg, bringing their total tally over the course of the event to 13 stage wins from 15 stages contested, including where they encountered the engine problems.
By the end of the event, Tom and Craig held on to 31st overall and seventh in N3, just under 16 minutes behind the class winner, having lost 25 minutes in total thanks to the head gasket failure.
Cave was full of praise for Yokohama, suggesting that other racers had been impressed with the performance of the brand’s tyres: “we had several other competitors coming over to chat to us about tyres over the weekend, since they were suffering all sorts of problems with blistering and punctures. I think they were impressed that we were able to consistently take stage wins without any problem at all.”
There will be a brief pause for breath for Tom, as almost as soon as he gets home, he’s heading south to the world famous Goodwood Festival of Speed, where he has been invited to display his car on the International Rally Drivers Club stand, as well as demonstrate it on the event’s famous rally stage on each of the three days of competition.