Rac Rally Hopes
Leg One - Leeds to Carlisle
Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez made it to the end of the opening leg of the Roger Albert Clark Rally in sixteenth place after a day of problems hampered his bid for overall honours.
Driving the legendary Lancia Stratos with Scotsman Kevin Rae as co-driver, the pair finished Friday night in ninth place overall, just fifteen seconds down on the leader after a trouble-free run through the opening two tests at Temple Newsam near Leeds.
However, Saturday's early morning repeats of the 1.58 mile mixed surface stages proved to be the first of the Chesterfield businessman's problems as a broken rear differential meant he had to limp through them before replacing the unit at Pickering service.
With the problems rectified, Perez started to climb back up the leaderboard, despite an electrical fault which caused a loss of oil pressure, in the North Yorkshire forests of Langdale and Harwood Dale before wowing the huge crowds around the Oliver's Mount racetrack in Scarborough to move up from 29th to 20th overall as the cars headed back to Pickering for service.
However, just as it looked as if Perez would make up the time deficit with a decent run through Langdale 2 to move up to 18th, the Lancia suffered a clutch problem in Harwood Dale 2 meaning the car had to be pushed from the line resulting in a further loss of time.
Once again, the team sorted the problem as the pair headed from Yorkshire and across the Pennines into the Lake District for two tough stages in Greystoke Forest in darkness before the overnight halt in Carlisle. There he managed to claw back some valuable time, despite illumination problems when the alternator started playing up, in the pair of 7.5 mile stages to bump himself up to 16th overall and 4th in class after 68 stage miles today.
"It's been a very frustrating day what with the transmission problems we have had but at least we are here. The time loss from this morning is really far too much to overcome so we are setting our targets of gradually climbing the leaderboard now. It's taken me a while to get used to the car again but if we suffer no further problems, we can have a push and see where we end up" said Steve.
Sunday sees a further dozen stages in southern Scotland and the final five stages of the 31 stage event provides the sting in the tail with over fifty miles of 'Killer Kielder' before the finish in Carlisle on Monday afternoon.
Roger Albert Clark Rally - Interim Results After SS14
1 Malcolm Wilson/John Millington (Ford Escort RS1800 Mk2) 1hr 14m 40s 2 Martin McCormack/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort Mk2) + 1m 42s 3 David Stokes/Guy Weaver (Ford Escort RS1600) + 2m 04s 4 Richard Lepley/Ian Bevan (Porsche 911) + 2m 46s 5 Seamus O'Connell/Paul Wakely (Ford Escort Mk2) + 2m 54s 6 Tim Mason/Graham Wild (Porsche 911) + 3m 42s 7 Charlie Taylor/Steve Bielby (Ford Escort Mk2) + 3m 45s 8 William Onions/Tim Hobbs (Ford Escort RS1800) + 4m 19s 9 Phil Squires/Mick Squires (Ford Escort RS1800) + 4m 22s 10 Phil Collins/Nicky Grist (Opel Ascona 400) + 7m 29s 16 Steve Perez/Kevin Rae (Lancia Stratos) + 9m 03s