Leg One Helmsley to Helmsley
Having literally just returned from the Kenya Airways East African Classic Safari Rally whereby he took a fine fifth place finish in his Datsun, it was back to traditional British rallying action for Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez and co driver Paul Spooner when the Roger Albert Clark Rally got underway in North Yorkshire this evening.
Driving the iconic Lancia Stratos, Perez from Chesterfield and Welshman Spooner finished the opening loop of stages in Duncombe Park and Dalby to hold 14th overall at the overnight halt and reported no major problems with the BTR-prepared machine which once again proved a massive hit with the legions of spectators.
Reacquainting himself with the rigours of the British forests as opposed to the Kenyan roads, the three times British champion was openly cautious around the 2.5 mile spectator stage in Duncombe Park before playing himself in around the 8.5 mile high speed test in Dalby to hold 20th place at first service.
But in the second run through both stages later this evening, Perez upped his game and returned to the Helmsley service park in a battling 14th overall, leading his class and just five seconds down on the crew in front of him.
"The car is so different to the Datsun I've been used to for the past two weeks; it really takes some adapting to. Whereas I've been used to the smooth, forgiving suspension on the car in Africa, here I feel every bump and hole. The other thing you notice is the roads here are so narrow, if you go off you hit a tree whereas over there, you hit a mud bank or perhaps an elephant! The stage in Dalby was really badly rutted, the worst I've ever known it, but I'm glad to get this leg out of the way and we'll give it a bit of a push in the morning," said Steve.
Saturday's leg sees crews tackle Langdale and Gale Rigg on the Yorkshire Moors before another two stages in Duncombe Park. Another loop round Langdale and Gale Rigg is followed by service at Croft which will also host two tarmac stages in late afternoon. From there it's on to the forests of Hamsterley and Shepherdshield before the overnight halt at Carlisle Airport.
Please visit www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org for further information or follow Steve Perez Rallying on Facebook.
Roger Albert Clark Rally - Interim Results after SS4
1 Gwyndaf Evans/John Millington - Ford Escort RS - 0:24:55
2 Paul Griffiths/Sam Collis - Ford Escort RS 1800 - 0:26:09
3 David Stokes/Guy Weaver - Ford Escort RS 1600 - 0:26:28
4 Tim Pearcey/Neil Shanks - Ford Escort RS1800 - 0:26:40
5 Charlie Taylor/Steve Bielby - Ford Escort - 0:26:45
6 Leigh Armstrong/Chris Armstrong - Ford Escort MK II - 0:27:18
7 Peter Smith/Paul Wakely - Ford Escort MK I - 0:27:23
8 Guy Woodcock/Graham Dance - Ford Escort RS 2000 - 0:27:30
9 Nick Woodman/Chris Parsons - Ford Escort MKII - 0:27:44
10 Barry Jordan/Lee Carter - Ford Escort - 0:27:52
14 Steve Perez/Paul Spooner - Lancia Stratos - 0:28:24