From Adrian Kirk-Burnnand [ 17/11/2003 ].
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Richard Burns has been undergoing tests in hospital to determine the cause of the health problem he suffered before Rally of Wales. These tests have been concluded and the doctors have now confirmed that he has a Astrocytoma. Richard will undergo a course of radiotherapy treatment which the doctors are confident will prove successful. However, they have confirmed that he will be unable to compete in the 2004 FIA World Rally Championship. 2004 was to see Richard return to Subaru, the place of his 2001 championship win.
Richard says " I would really like to thank everyone for their continued support - it means a lot to me. 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.”
Richard has asked that people respect his and his family’s privacy in what has been, and will continue to be, a difficult period. Additional information will be given once Richard has completed the course of treatment referred to above.
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”.
Regarding the Subaru team's 2004 driver line-up, David added, “We were excited about the prospect of the Burns and Solberg line-up at Subaru next season, 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.”
We, and we know everyone reading this article, wishes Richard the best possible recovery.