Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez took a sensational victory on the Pro Art Signs Swansea Bay Rally last weekend, but despite a heroic drive, he failed to keep his hopes of landing the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship in tact.
Along with Welsh co-driver Paul Spooner, the Ford Focus WRC pairing had to overcome their fair share of problems on round six of the ANCRO series but emerged victorious by less than nine seconds over chief rival Marcus Dodd to take his first maximum points haul of the season.
The Chesterfield ace picked up a twenty second penalty after being two minutes late out of Service A as they were fixing suspension problems which dropped them to third place, but by Service C they were up to second place.
Trailing Dodd by just 1.9 seconds going into the final stage, Perez pushed hard and by the end of the second, 8.4 mile Rhondda stage which comprised the final test, the 2004 ANCRO champion had done enough to secure his first national championship victory since last September's Trackrod Rally Yorkshire.
Sadly for Perez though it wasn't enough to keep his championship bid in tact but he was still pleased with the result.
"We really pushed in the last four stages, it was the drive of my life, we went hard and fast. It's fantastic to win at Swansea as it's more Marcus (Dodd)'s and Roger (Duckworth)'s territory so I was an outsider, it feels great, I'm really pleased," Perez summed-up.