After class wins on the Cambrian Rally, Trackrod Rally, Wales Rally GB and Killarney Historic Rally last year, triple British champion Steve Perez was back in action where he endured an eventful week whilst out testing at the John Haugland Rally School in Norway but came away with another victory.
Driving the iconic 1974 Amigos Tequila-flavoured beer branded Lancia Stratos, Perez, from Chesterfield, and Swedish co-driver Staffan Parmander clinched a sensational victory in the Rally Hadeland Historic Rally Norway, only days after a dramatic roll when testing. Steve, the 2003 British Historic, 2004 National ANCRO and 2010 BTRDA champion, takes up the story:
“We were on the last test of the day when the car caught a snow bank on the inside which pulled the car in and we fell off the road and the Stratos gently rolled over. The worst thing was that we couldn’t get out of the car for five or six minutes because of the amount of snow. We had to wait for a rescue team to dig us out and I must say I was glad to see daylight.”
The BTR service team drove through the night to an Oslo workshop, worked all the next day and had the Stratos ready for the start. On the first stage, Steve took 17 seconds off fellow G-WRC driver (Gentlemen’s World Rally Championship – if you don’t know about this, ask Steve!) Kenyan team mates Geoff Bell and Tim Challen.
Steve continued: “I thought I had won the rally on the first stage and backed off, so I was surprised to find that Geoff had caught me napping and had taken 32 seconds off me on the next two stages meaning the fight was on!”
Perez and Bell were exchanging times and Steve was just three seconds down going into the last stage. “I decided it was going in the lead or in the trees!” said Steve. “We drove flat out for the next 21km of frozen forest tracks and we had a few close calls but it worked out well.”
At the end if the stage, Steve had pulled a massive 16 seconds back from Geoff giving him the victory.
“It was a great end to what I thought was going to be a disastrous weekend” concluded Steve. “I owe it all to my team who worked so hard to get the car back together after my mistake.”
Brits Andrew Siddall and co driver Carl Williamson, also part of the G-WRC, went off into a snow bank after the throttle stuck open on their Ford Escort.
The Lancia is off to the body shop to get fixed for the forthcoming Wyedean Rally followed by the Legend Boucles de Spa in February.
Further information is available by following Steve Perez Rallying on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/steve.perezrallying and on Twitter@steveperezrallying. For further information on the company’s products, including Amigos beer, please visitwww.globalbrands.co.uk and the team’s official rally website iswww.steveperez.co.uk.
Pictures attached: Steve Perez overcame a roll in testing to win the Rally Hadeland Historic Rally Norway.