Burns has brain tumour

British rally star Richard Burns has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, and will be forced to sit out next year's World Rally Championship while he undergoes treatment

Burns has brain tumour

The 32-year-old was forced to skip Wales Rally GB earlier this month after passing out at the wheel of his road car in the build-up to the event. Tests to determine the cause of the blackout have revealed that Burns has Astrocytoma. This is a form of tumour that develops on the brain's glial cells, which support and protect the nerve cells.

Burns will be treated for the condition through a course of radiation, with doctors confident that this will prove successful.

"I would really like to thank everyone for their continued support - it means a lot to me," said Burns. "My fans, the Peugeot WRC team and also everyone at Prodrive and Subaru have all been tremendous. The doctors have advised me that I am unable to get back in a rally car for the 2004 World Rally 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."

After two disappointing years at Peugeot Burns was due to return to Subaru next season, the team with whom he won the 2001 championship.

Subaru boss David Lapworth 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."

Subaru has yet to make a decision on who will now partner new WRC champion Petter Solberg next season.

"We have not yet had much time to consider all the alternative driver options for next year," said Lapworth, "but we hope to make an announcement in the coming weeks."

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