Young rally driver Tom Cave heads north of the border this weekend, to contest the Jim Clark Rally, round four of the 2012 British Rally Championship. The 20 year-old will be buoyed by his recent performance on the Carlow stages in Ireland, where he finished 10th overall, first in class and first front wheel-drive car but in contrast, is still mourning the sad demise of his father just two weeks ago.
This will be Tom's third time on the Jim Clark, having competed in his Group N Fiesta and last year, in the Group N Mitsubishi Lancer. However, the event has gained an extra day for 2012, with just two stages around the centre of Duns on Friday night and a further two full days of competition on the tight and twisty asphalt roads around the birthplace of motorsport legend and event namesake, Jim Clark.
The Jim Clark is the first of two tarmac rounds in the series and Tom contested the recent Carlow Stages rally in Ireland in preparation, after the three gravel rallies that opened the series.
Despite a huge field including numerous high-specification Ford Escorts and several World Rally Cars, Tom and co-driver Craig Parry finished the event in 10th place overall, first in class and the first front wheel-drive car, a remarkable achievement against fierce competition. And while the Carlow gave invaluable tarmac experience, Tom is under no illusions that this weekend's event will be a walk in the park.
Commenting, he said; "It's been a tough few weeks and it's hard to describe how I'm feeling at the moment. I'm still a bit numb after Dad died but I need to focus on this event and try to ensure that we get a reasonable result to keep the championship going.
"I think the key this weekend will be to drive my own rally, try to find a rhythm and pace that I'm comfortable with and enjoy the event. Hopefully if I can do this, then the result will come. I don't want to put myself under too much pressure, as I'll just set myself up for a fall.
"We're still second on the championship so ideally, a podium would be good to try to keep towards the top of the tables. But it won't be easy; it's a very competitive event and there will be some very quick drivers out, like Elfyn [Evans], Keith [Cronin], Mark [Donnelly] and Jarkko [Nikara].
"I've done the rally twice before but don't have a huge amount of experience of the stages, so Craig and I will be spending some time ahead of the event reviewing our notes from the previous years and working on systems ahead of this weekend.
"The event is also longer than last year - there are just two stages on Friday compared with six last year then 90 miles on Saturday and another 40 on Sunday, so it will be a tough event but I just want to enjoy it without putting myself under too much pressure."
The rally begins with two runs around the centre of Duns, Jim Clark's birthplace on Friday evening before seven stages on Saturday and five on Sunday. The first crews are expected to reach the finish ramp at 14.40 on Sunday.