Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez rounded off the 2008 MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship with a fighting second place on Saturday's Bulldog Rally which was based in Oswestry.
Driving the 2005 Ford Focus WRC with Paul Spooner on the notes, the Chesterfield businessman dropped time on the opening stage in Dyfnant due to an incorrect tyre choice in the muddy conditions and also an overshoot but by SS3, the former ANCRO Champion was back on the pace and up to second as he chased champion-elect Marcus Dodd in the Hyundai Accent WRC.Perez continued his relentless pursuit of Dodd and despite setting fastest time on two of the final three stages; he couldn't quite bridge the gap and ended up just over half a minute behind winner Dodd, who claimed the championship as a result.
For Perez, despite missing three rounds of the series as he recovered from injuries sustained last winter on the East African Safari Rally and also missing the Severn Valley Stages which clashed with the Barbados Rally, he secured sixth in the overall standings and second in class A8.
"We were on the wrong tyres this morning, we should have started on mud tyres, but we started going better and things went much better on the final three stages. I'm happy with the result, I would have liked to have pushed Marcus more but well done to him he's a worthy champion" said Steve at the finish.
Perez now turns his attentions to the Roger Albert Clark Rally which takes place next month, whereby he'll be tackling the event as usual in his VK Lancia Stratos whereafter he will contest Wales Rally GB in the Ford Focus WRC.
Bulldog Rally Results
1 Marcus Dodd/Andrew Bargery (Hyundai Accent WRC) 59:44.52 Steve Perez/Paul Spooner (Ford Focus WRC) 60:16.73 Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Subaru Impreza WRC) 61:47.74 Nik Elsmore/Craig Drew (Mitsubishi Lancer) 62:19.35 Daniel Barry/Martin Brady (Mitsubishi Lancer) 62:26.96 Neil McCance/Graham Hopewell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 62:29.67 Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson (Hyundai Accent WRC) 62:32.18 Charlie Payne/Jamie Edwards (Mitsubishi WRC) 62:43.99 Jonathan Greer/Dai Roberts (Mitsubishi Lancer) 63:22.710 David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Mitsubishi Lancer) 64:11.2