POLICE ENCOURAGEMENT SEES PEREZ CLOSE IN ON TOP TWENTY ON WALES RALLY GB Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez overcame a number of problems as well as the continuing difficult weather conditions to close in on the top twenty after day two of the...
POLICE ENCOURAGEMENT SEES PEREZ CLOSE IN ON TOP TWENTY ON WALES RALLY GB
Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez overcame a number of problems as well as the continuing difficult weather conditions to close in on the top twenty after day two of the Swansea-based Wales Rally GB.
Along with co driver Paul Spooner, Perez was hoping to improve on his 23rd placing overnight as the Ford Focus WRC crew headed out for the tough loop of stages which included Resolfen, Halfway and Crychan and on the opening stage, Perez moved into 21st place overall as he battled with MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi who ended day one just behind the former double British Rally Champion.
However, a problem with a damaged intercooler following a spin, which he had to rectify himself at the end of the stage, saw Perez slump to 30th fastest on the first run through Halfway although he battled back on the second of the Epynt tests in Crychan to return to Swansea service in 22nd place.
The second loop of stages were a virtual repeat with reasonable times in Resolfen 2 and Crychan 2 but another spin on Halfway 2, whereby he lost reverse gear, cost the Chesterfield driver valuable time as the cars headed to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the final stage of the day.
There, Steve was the first car to entertain the crowds with the VK Ford Focus resplendent in Perez's traditional night-stage 'bling' what with the wheel lights, and despite entertaining the crowds and clipping a barrier, he emerged in 22nd place to hold 21st overall going into tomorrow's final leg, some one and a half minutes adrift of the Subaru of Norwegian Mads Ostberg.
With another pre-dawn start and freezing fog and ice set to greet the crews in the final 96km loop around South Wales with two stages in both Rheola and Port Talbot, Steve is hoping he can maintain his progress and score a deserved top twenty finish.
"We had a couple of spins today and that really hurt us, plus I had to fix the intercooler myself with zippy ties we were carrying in the car. We changed the gearbox at the final service tonight and hopefully that's sorted it and we can get through tomorrow without any problems as the top twenty is definitely a possibility."
ELLO, ELLO, ELLO...
Never mind the Arctic conditions in Wales, and the gearbox problems today, Perez was stopped by a member of the Welsh Constabulary as he headed into Cardiff for the stage at the Millennium Stadium in the city centre.
As the officer approached the car, Perez wasn't sure what he'd done wrong and the Policeman asked him about the Anti-Lag System on the 300bhp Ford Focus WRC. Steve thought the officer was instructing him to switch it off when it turned out that he was a big rally fan and wanted to hear Steve drive down the road with it ON!
"I thought 'here we go', and when this guy came over to us, he had a big grin on his face and said he loved hearing rally cars with the ALS on so I said if it was OK with him, I'd give it a blast and he was delighted. If only all coppers were like that.!" joked Steve.