RALLY co-driver Tom Wood has described as “quite shocking” the way teenager Zak Hughes handled the duo’s Ford Fiesta in their first event together last month.

Cwmbran navigator Wood, 26, and 18-year-old Hughes, from Welshpool, made a winning start to the 2018 Fiesta ST Trophy at the opening round in North Wales.

The debutants didn’t look back after being promoted to top spot on stage five following the retirement of leaders Richard Wells and Calvin Holdsworth due to a broken driveshaft.

While they may have benefited from Wells and Holdsworth’s bad luck, Wood and Hughes were just seven seconds behind the leading pair when the former’s misfortune struck.

Reflecting on a sensational Cambrian Rally victory, Wood said: “The first round of the year was amazing.

“Zak knew the car but we went there with him having never driven it before.

“It was also his first time in a car with me and his first time driving on a new set of tyres. It was the first of everything for him but we went out and won the event.”

He added: “We went out in the morning and were a bit slow, just because everything was so new, but we got time back throughout the rest of the day.

“We were 12 seconds down after the first stage but then we started coming back.

“The leaders retired on stage five and that promoted us to first.

“We were slowly catching up with them and we would have liked to chase them down all the way.

“We didn’t want to win because they had to retire, and we were only seven seconds behind when they did.”

He continued: “Zak was incredible. I’ve seen him racing from the outside but considering it was his first time in the car, he adapted to it so well.

“It normally takes a driver a couple of stages to get up to the pace but I could tell he was something special within the first two miles, it was quite shocking.

“I’ve known Zak for a few years. I used to compete against him in another competition. He posted on the internet that he was looking for a new co-driver so I sent him a message and it went from there.

“We’ve got quite a good system where he will watch a DVD of the course and I will make my notes before we come together.

“He’s absolutely sound, I can’t fault him. He’s quite reserved and you wouldn’t think he was 18.”

Hughes went into the Fiesta ST Trophy on the back of a Suzuki Swift Series triumph last year.

The duo will be in action again on Saturday, April 14 when the championship moves to Builth Wells.

A week later, Wood takes part in the first ever closed-road rally on the streets of England when Chelmsford Motor Club host a landmark event in Clacton.