Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez overcame some of the most difficult driving conditions he’d encountered in his career to post a battling 17th position overall on the four-day Roger Albert Clark Rally which finished in Carlisle this afternoon.

Driving the iconic BTR-prepared Lancia Stratos, which he was sharing with Welsh co-driver Paul Spooner and which was decked out with decals of the individuals and companies who have donated to the fund set up by the Chesterfield driver in aid of the family of fellow competitor Martyn Lewis who was killed earlier this year on the Dukeries Rally, Perez showed his intentions and held third place overall during Friday night’s Yorkshire stages.

With the weather doing its best to disrupt proceedings with heavy snow, organisers battled to keep the event on schedule during Saturday’s loop around Scarborough and after the second run around Olivers Mount, Perez held ninth overall. However, going into the second Langdale stage late on Saturday afternoon, Steve lost control on the ice and ended up beached on a snow bank, losing ten minutes as help was mustered to extract the car.

The resulting time loss meant he dropped way down the leaderboard but a spirited fight back in the evening’s Hamsterley and Kielder stages saw the former British Historic and National Rally Champion, and this year’s BTRDA Champion, claw his way up to 26th at the Carlisle overnight halt.

It was on to Scotland for Sunday’s stages whereby Perez had a relatively trouble free run to arrive back in Carlisle in 15th position but with the weather worsening, the organisers had to cancel a number of planned stages in the Kielder complex meaning just two tests remained in Kershope forest this morning. There, Steve suffered a puncture on the very first stage meaning he dropped to 17th at the Carlisle finish on what was his seventh Roger Albert Clark Rally finish, and his toughest to date.

“That can only be described as a great white adventure and after three days and one night of virtually non stop driving, it’s been very tough so I’m delighted to make the finish. The car ran like a Swiss watch all weekend, I thought I was in a VW so thanks to Tim Ashton at BTR. The only problems we had were the puncture at the end and me putting it off the road on Saturday and I must say thanks to Ryan Champion and his mates for helping us get the car out! We had to keep going for the fans and marshals who were wonderful as ever, and thanks to those who made donations, but my heartfelt thanks have to go to the organisers for doing an amazing job in impossible conditions. They are the real stars of the rally for me.”

Perez has no plans to contest events for the next couple of months during which time he hopes to put a schedule together for 2011 which will see him concentrate his efforts in developing the Lancia Stratos next season.

Pictures (courtesy of Geoff Mayes): Steve Perez and Paul Spooner in action and the decals of some of those who donated to the cause in memory of Martyn Lewis.



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