Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Rally hopeful passes driving test


Tom Cave's race against time to pass his test

A teenage rally driver has passed his UK driving test, so he can make his "dream come true" and compete in the Wales Rally GB early next month.

Tom Cave's success means the 17-year-old from Aberdyfi in Gwynedd will be one of the youngest drivers in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

He had already passed his theory test and booked a series of lessons to tailor his practical skills.

Tom already has an international rally licence from Latvia.

The teenager, who began driving when he was 12 years old and started his rallying career at 15, has already competed there for two seasons.

Speaking after passing the test, Tom said he was "delighted".

Tom Cave's rally car
Tom Cave has been working his endurance skills for the rally

"It was the last hurdle to get over before I could take the start of Wales Rally GB and it's a huge relief to have it out of the way.

"Now I can concentrate on the rally and my preparations for the most important motor sport event of my life."

The Wales Rally GB runs from 4 to 7 December and Tom recognises that he will probably be closer to the end of the field in his Group N Ford Fiesta ST.

"Ever since I can remember, it's been my dream to compete on the UK round of the WRC," he said.

"Some of my earliest memories are spectating on the event with my father, who was an avid fan and always took me to watch when he wasn't competing himself."

Tom Cave after his test
Tom passed his test on Tuesday - a week after his 17th birthday

He said competing alongside some of the best drivers in the world was an "unbelievable opportunity, and not one to be taken lightly".

"I fully expect to be one of the tail-end Charlies at the event," he added.

"I think the conditions will be pretty rough by the time we get to the stages, especially on the second run through."

The aim was to "plough through and make sure we enjoy every mile," he added.

As part of his preparations Tom has been testing tyres with former Production Car World Rally Champion Martin Rowe.

Mr Rowe said his skills had "developed massively" over the past year.

They have also been working on the teenager's endurance skills.

"We've carried out several endurance runs, since Wales Rally GB will feature much longer stages than he's used to, as well as some running in darkness," Mr Rowe said.

"He coped very well with the demands he is likely to meet on the event and from what I saw over the two days, should do well in December," he added.

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