Steve Perez conquered some atrocious weather to win a record-equalling fourth Rainworth Skoda Forest Rally in the 55th edition of the event.
Changing conditions made it a tough challenge for just under 100 crews, where smatterings of sunshine were mixed with torrential rain too.
But it did not phase Chesterfield VK drinks entrepreneur Perez and last year’s winning co-driver Paul Spooner in their VK Energy-sponsored Ford Focus WRC, who held onto the lead for most of the day by winning nine out of the day’s ten special stages.
It no doubt helped that the winning driver is no stranger to the Forests of Nottinghamshire and the rally, returning to the scene of a race he last entered and won in 2010, but has also seen him triumph in 2006 and 2009 as well.
This fourth victory put him level in the rally’s record books, matching the most number of wins set by Andy Burton. Co-driver Spooner also posted a record as a five-time winner.
It was also Perez’s second rally win in the Escort WRC this year, having tasted victory in the Betta Somerset Stages Rally, and he was lying 14th in the REIS BTRDA Rally Series championship after four rounds.
Runners-up were Steve Petch and co-driver Ian Windress in their brand new Fiesta R5+, given a first competition outing in the Dukeries.
The debuting car came from M Sport in Cumbria, known for building the Ford World Rally Championship team cars.
Credit again must go to the organisers Dukeries Motor Club and sponsors of the last 11 years, Rainworth Skoda, who along with officials and marshals, helped defy the weather to make the event a success.