Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez was left cursing his luck when he was forced to retire after only two stages on the famous 2011 Legend Boucles de Spa Rally following gearbox failure.
The three times British and National Champion from Chesterfield was at the wheel of his iconic 1974 Lancia Stratos and hoping for a good result on his event debut but along with co-driver Carl Williamson was forced out less than half a mile from the end of the second stage on Friday evening, much to his disappointment.
After arriving home, Perez commented: “What an experience! I’ve heard so much about this event I just had to do it, it’s a pity the experience was so short! To be competing alongside many of rallying’s past masters who were also heroes of mine was fantastic and to be signing autographs alongside the likes of Ari Vatanen, Bjorn Waldegard and Raouno Aaltonen was such a privilege.”
He continued: “I sometimes get a little despondent and feel like throwing the towel in with the Lancia but then I see what joy it brings to peoples faces, the smiles, the cheers and all the flash cameras going off, it makes me want to persevere so it’s a mission of mine to continue making people happy.”
Sadly the damage to the gearbox, whereby the parts have to be hand-made in Italy, will rule Steve out of the Rally Marketing Mid Wales Historic Stages Rally on March 6th but he hopes to be back in action the following week for the Rally Isla Mallorca which commences three days of action on the Spanish island on March 10th.
It’s all part of Perez’s plan for a selected number of events this year which will see him competing on a number of foreign events in 2011. Visits to Barbados, Ypres, Flanders and the Midnight Sun Rally will be highlighted with another attempt at the East African Safari Classic Rally in November whereas plans for the UK include the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales and the Pirelli International Rally, followed by the McRae Stages and then the season-ending Roger Albert Clark Rally in December.
Picture attached: Steve Perez in action in the Kick Energy Lancia Stratos on the 2011 Legend Boucles de Spa.
Other images available upon request