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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 14:03 GMT
Burns diagnosed with brain tumour
RICHARD BURNS FACTFILE
Richard Burns
Born: 17/1/1971, Reading
Rallying debut: 1988
World Championship 1998: First win at Safari Rally, also wins Rally of Great Britain
World Championship 2001: Wins world title for Subaru, 1st Englishman to do so

Richard Burns has been diagnosed as having a brain tumour and is out of next year's World Rally Championship.

Burns suffered a blackout at the wheel of his car ahead of the Wales Rally GB, and tests have revealed he has a condition known as Astrocytoma.

He will undergo radiotherapy, and doctors are confident this will prove successful, but he will be unable to compete in next season's championship.

The 32-year-old Briton was due to re-join Subaru next season.

He won the championship with the Japanese team in 2001 before joining Peugeot.

Burns said: "The doctors have advised that I am unable to get back in a rally car for the 2004 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.

"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."

Burns had a slim chance of winning the 2003 title going into the Wales Rally GB.

But following his blackout, he was advised by doctors not to compete, where Petter Solberg subsequently clinched his first World Rally crown.

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."




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