VK Vodka Kick rally driver Steve Perez rounded off his 2004 season in style by competing in two of the country's most popular one day events this weekend.

Driving the VK Ford Focus 03, Perez and Berwickshire co-driver Claire Mole competed on the Grizedale Stages Rally on Saturday, whereby the overcame gear-shift problems to finish fourth, before heading north to the Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland, where the pair finished as runners-up, to complete a busy weekend.

Following on from the recent four day Roger Albert Clark Rally whereby he contested the event in an historic Porsche, Perez found the adaptation back to his WRC a lot harder than he expected and as a result, it took a little time for him to get up to speed on Saturday's event.

A bad tyre choice and a couple of stalls meant he had to play catch up on Grizedale but just as he was set to challenge the drivers in front of him, he suffered problems with the paddle shift and gear linkage in the car and ended up dropping 30 seconds on the very last stage.

Sunday's action saw the pair start well by equalling eventual rally winner Matt Wilson's time on SS1 before having to give second best to the talented youngster on the rest of the stages in south-west Scotland.

Courtesy of some spirited driving as he gradually got to grips with the Focus once again, the Chesterfield driver ended up consolidating his second place by some 40 seconds over the MG Metro 6R4 of Scotsman Andy Horne.

"After driving the Porsche recently, I had to forget all about those characteristics and relearn how to drive a WRC again. It took a while and as the rallies progressed, we got faster and faster but all credit to Matthew, he drove magnificently all weekend. I'm happy enough with the two results and now I plan to recharge my batteries over the next couple of months in readiness for next season," said Perez, who clinched this season's Kumho Tyres National Rally Championship in September.


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