CAREER BEST TOP TWELVE FOR PEREZ ON RALLY GB
Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez achieved his aim of a top twelve result when he reached the Cardiff finish today after three gruelling days contesting the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship on Rally GB and in doing so, claimed his and Welsh co-driver Paul Spooner's best ever WRC result.
Holding 16th at the end of day one and 14th after a gruelling and problematic leg two yesterday, the Chesterfield driver upped the pace and set about chasing down the opposition in his ex Marcus Gronholm Ford Focus WRC07.
With a deficit of around a minute to make up, he was 17th fastest in today's first Port Talbot stage, pulling back around ten seconds on rivals Martin Prokop and Armindo Araujo, and then another six seconds were gained in the first run through Rheola.
However, Steve saved his best performance of the rally for the second Port Talbot stage where he was an amazing eighth fastest through the 17.5km test to move up to 13th overall and with another great drive in Rheola 2, where he was 11th quickest, he snatched 12th place to become the first of the non-regular WRC drivers and in doing so, recorded the best result of his career.
"That was a real battle out there and I'm very happy with 12th place, but had it not have been for our problems on Saturday what with the wipers packing up and the screen misting, which cost us a lot of time, I think a top ten would have been possible. The car has run faultlessly and the stages have been in great condition so I'm delighted to be the first 'amateur' home," said Steve.
At the finish, Perez paid a special tribute to his co-driver who, he revealed, had sustained an injury during Saturday: "We hit a bump hard on Saturday and Paul put his back out which meant he was in considerable pain for the rest of the rally. He was having painkillers and treatment every time we stopped so all credit to him for continuing as it must have been hell every time we hit another bump and it would have been so easy for him to tell me to stop."