|11-17-2003, 06:11 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Albany, NYVehicle:
2014 SWP WRX Wagon
Burns MIA 2004?
Richard Burns will not take part in the 2004 World Rally Championship, after tests have revealed that the Englishman is suffering from an Astrocytoma, a form of brain tumour. Doctors have advised Richard that he would be wise to sit out the season in order to fully recover from the illness that befell him in the run up to Wales Rally GB. Burns fainted at the wheel of his road car and was advised by doctors to miss the event while it was established what was wrong. Richard will undergo a course of radiotherapy treatment which the doctors are confident will prove successful.
"I would really like to thank everyone for their continued support - it means a lot to me," Burns said. "My fans, the Peugeot WRC team and also everyone at Prodrive and Subaru have all been tremendous. The doctors have advised that I am unable to get back in a rally car for the 2004 FIA WRC Championship and I have to accept that. I'm obviously extremely disappointed but I am feeling very positive and I am determined to focus all of my efforts on getting back to full fitness as soon as I can."
David Lapworth, Subaru Team Principal, said, "We are very concerned at this news about Richard. There will always be future rallies and future championships, but for now Richard needs to put his own health first."
"Richard will always be welcome at Subaru and we hope that he may again, when fully recovered, work with us once more. The team has offered to do what it can to help Richard back to health and return as one of the leading drivers in the WRC".
It is not yet clear who might replace Burns in the Subaru line-up as team mate to World Champion Petter Solberg is hotting up. Lapworth has made it clear, however, that appropriate decisions will be made soon.
"We were excited about the prospect of the Burns and Solberg line-up at Subaru next season," he said, "and until recently were optimistic that he would recover in time for the first rally. We have not yet had much time to consider all the alternative driver options for next year, but we hope to make an announcement in the coming weeks."
One of the favourites for the drive is 1995 World Champion and former Subaru driver Colin McRae. The Scot has temporarily called time on his WRC career after losing his Citroen drive due to regulation changes for 2004. One possibility that has already been ruled out is Tommi Makinen postponing his retirement to remain with Subaru. His management team have confirmed that the four-time world champion will retire as planned, despite the news of Burns' illness.
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