Cave Completes an “Incredible” Year with Yokohama
Yokohama-supported rally driver Tom Cave has ended his 2009 rally season in 44th place overall, having attained a third in class during the Rally of Great Britain and eighth overall and first in class in the Rally of Scotland. The latter, notes the tyre maker, marked the best result for a Ford in the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge and would have netted him a championship point had the marque been registered for the series.
“It’s been an incredible year,” said Cave. “We’ve had some exceptional results and some frustrating ends but everything has been part of the learning curve. We’ve also faced just about every possible condition with the exception of snow and ice – fast dry gravel, tight and twisty wet gravel and both wet and dry asphalt.
“The support that Yokohama HPT has given us this year has been invaluable and the tyres have worked very well for us,” the young driver continued. “Punctures have been pretty much non-existent and the performance has been excellent. I’m extremely grateful to the company for their support in making this an outstanding year for us.”
Cave’s pan-European 2009 season drew to a close with two home events. The first was the finale of the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship, the second Rally of Great Britain he contested before his 18th birthday. This year’s event followed a similar build-up to last year’s, with heavy rain during the recce and predicted for the rally itself. Cave and co-driver Craig Parry started well before seeing their chance of living up to last year’s excellent class win result slip out of reach as their car slid off the road on the first day after entering a corner too fast. Although the vehicle only suffered cosmetic damage, the 25 minutes it took to get back on the road made all the difference.
However, the pair didn’t let this affect their performance, and Cave and Parry drove on to four class wins from the six stages on Saturday and on each of the four stages on Sunday, to climb from 61st overall to 44th by the end, and third in class. Four weeks later, the duo was in action again, this time on the finale of the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which Yokohama is a tyre partner to. Cave and Parry finished in ninth place on the road overall and first in class but were promoted to eighth when the rally winner was excluded due to a technical infringement on his car. This marked the best result for a Ford in the 2009 IRC, and had the manufacturer been registered for the series it would have netted Tom his first driver’s point in an international rally championship.
“I’m delighted that Tom has achieved so much, including his superb result in Scotland,” commented Yokohama HPT Motorsport manager Mark Evans. “We knew that he was capable of delivering from last year’s Wales Rally of Great Britain and he has done that all season. We are pleased to have been able to support him and the team’s activity this year and I hope that we can continue that relationship into next season.”