TOM DELANEY got his Suzuki One Make Series debut off to the perfect start with victory in the opening round of the championship in North Wales.
The 17-year-old from Droitwich Spa had gone into Saturday’s event in the Dyfi Forest complex on the back of a successful pre-season test at the Malcolm Wilson Rally in the Lake District.
The first stage was held in Gartheiniog Forest and things did not go to plan for Tom as he had little confidence in the slippery conditions meaning he dropped some 30 seconds to the front runners in the 11 mile stage.
This meant it was going to be tough to catch up identical cars but some set-up changes were made giving Tom the task of trying to limit the damage.
But remarkably, after stages two and three he was equal fastest after setting an identical time to the lead.
At the service halt following stage three Tom was in third place and 30 seconds down on the lead.
He said: “We had a tough job on our hands to pull back 30 seconds in 22 miles but all we could do was push and hoped someone up front made a mistake.”
Stages four and five went very well with Tom taking a huge chunk of time out of the cars in front such to an extent he was only a second behind the leader going into the final stage in the Dyfi Forest.
And Tom pulled out all the stops to claim an 18-second victory.
“To get from 30 seconds down to nearly level shows how hard we were pushing,” he said.
“We had to keep the pressure on and when we stopped the clocks at the end of stage six we had taken 19 seconds out of the leader leaving us at the head of the table by 18 seconds.
“It was great to have got the win and grabbed some valuable points at the start of the season.”
The next round is based in Welshpool in mid-May.