19 JULY 2018 12:05
The Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5 once again showed its enormous rally-winning potential by setting fastest stage times and battling for the lead throughout the Nicky Grist Stages.
This time it was Tom Cave behind the wheel, the 26-year old Aberdovey driver contesting his first rally since last year’s Wales Rally GB.
Despite a nine-month sabbatical, Tom was fastest on the opening stage, to set the scene for a titanic battle between him and MSA British Rally Championship leader Matt Edwards, as the two traded fastest stages times as the lead swapped between them.
Co-driven by James Morgan, Tom led by two seconds at the mid-day service at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd. Following a quick spanner check around the Mirage R5 by the Spencer Sport team, Tom embarked on the afternoon’s four stages and, like the weather, the battle between him and Edwards got even hotter.
In fact, on stage five both drivers set exactly the same time, four seconds faster than anyone else. Still with a two-second advantage, Tom knew it would be flat to the finish and, although he pushed as hard as he could through the remaining three stages, he could not hold off Edwards, who fought back to take the win.
But on returning to Builth Wells, unknowingly Tom and James found that they had contravened an event regulation due to a rare co-driver error and were consequently disqualified from the results. Although a conclusion they and the team would not have wished for, Tom and James were pleased they had been able to get straight back to a front-running pace. The team were also happy that the stage times clearly proved the Mitsubishi Mirage was a match for any other R5 class car.
“Whilst the final outcome was of course, not what we had wanted, rallying is a complicated sport with lots of rules and regulations, so these things can and do happen”, said Tom.
“It was great to be back in an R5 specification car alongside James who did his usual great job on the notes. And to be straight back on the pace right from the start was very reassuring to us both.
“The Mirage has really progressed into a competitive car and the stage times prove it. It’s great to drive and I hope I have the opportunity to enter another event with it soon.
“I have to thank everyone involved who made this event happen for us: Spencer Sport, Spencer ECA, DMACK Tyres, Nicky Grist Motorsports, Walero Racewear, Atech Racing and the team’s sponsors: Oil 4 Wales, Speedline Wheels, Motul Lubricants and Sea & Slate.”