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Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship reg­u­lars Tom Cave and Neil Simp­son will join the BTRDA ranks on the Plains Rally this week­end, the cham­pi­onship’s big­gest en­try this year.

The BTRDA has strug­gled to match its reg­u­lar en­try of 170 plus from last year, but the Welsh­pool event has at­tracted 153 en­tries.

Cave bounced back from a crash on the Red Kite – which he was us­ing as a test event – to score a podium on the BRC opener in Mid Wales, but trou­ble with set-up on the Cir­cuit of Ire­land and Pirelli Carlisle yielded two fourth places. The 24-year-old is hop­ing a run on the Plains will im­prove his feel­ing in the new R5.

“I felt we needed to do a bit more in terms of seat time af­ter the Pirelli,” said Cave, who is adapt­ing to a new car and co-driver in James Mor­gan. “I need more time with James too, it’s a big step up from the R2 to the R5 car. I’ve changed my notes quite a lot from last year and it takes time to get used to it. For me and for James who’s used to San­der [Parn, WRC2 driver], it will come.”

Simp­son, mean­while, has suf­fered a trou­ble­some start to the BRC sea­son; the open­ing round in Mid Wales was over af­ter 400 me­tres with a prob­lem re­lated to the pop-off valve, while an off on the Cir­cuit of Ire­land com­pounded his woe. How­ever, a strong fin­ish on the Pirelli Carlisle – eighth over­all – has given him con­fi­dence for the re­main­der of the sea­son.

Cave’s team-mate Jamie Jukes also re­turns to the BTRDA in the Spencer Sport set-up in one of the team’s Mit­subishi Mi­rages, while Rory Young joins the BTRDA re­turnees in his Ford Fi­esta R5 af­ter a strong show­ing on the Mal­colm Wil­son rally last time out.

Cave rolls off third for his lo­cal event

Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey, Mick Walker

Simp­son: op­ti­mistic Cave: seat time in R5

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