Duns rally driver Garry Pearson opened his KNC Scottish Rally Championship campaign with a superb second overall at last weekend’s Border Counties Rally in Jedburgh (16th March).
Pearson and Welsh co-driver Dale Bowen overcame almost biblical conditions in the Kielder and South of Scotland forests to secure a solid start to his season in the Asset Alliance Group & George Anderson Builders backed Ford Fiesta R5.
Significant overnight snowfall would greet a top-quality list of competitors who were all eager to stamp their authority on the leader board from an early stage. The drop in temperature also ensured that conditions were that of a winter rally and a cautious approach would be required on the opening loop of tests.
Six special stages and around 40 miles of competitive driving lay ahead, and Pearson would show no signs of his lack of seat time of late. A sporadic season in the Fiesta in 2018 would be firmly behind him, setting equal fastest time though the opening stage of the rally to put him out front from the off.
Pearson showed his hand on the second by once again setting an equal fastest time to jointly lead the rally during after the opening loop. By mid-morning, the stages would turn from snow to mud but sadly Pearson suffered a spin on the third test, demoting him to third place.
It only took one stage for the 27-year-old to regain some of the lost time, moving into second place on stage four. Just two stages remained, and Pearson returned a mature drive over the closing loop to secure second place and an almost perfect start to his Scottish Rally Championship assault.
“After the conditions we were faced with today I’m absolutely delighted with the result” said an elated Pearson.
“I’ll admit I was a little surprised to be leading this morning, but everything really felt comfortable in the car and we weren’t taking any unnecessary risks either. Historically I’ve always gone well in the borders so I knew I could push on a little, but that spin on stage three ultimately cost us the win, but I’m very happy with second place”.
Pearson feels that it’s the perfect confidence boost to go into round two in Inverness next month.
“We showed what we are capable of this morning and its very encouraging that the pace is ultimately there. We need to be consistent this year and build the points as much as possible, but it feels fantastic to be back in the car and a full championship campaign. The Speyside Stages can’t come soon enough”.
Pearson is supported by Asset Alliance Group, George Anderson Builders, Pearsons of Duns, RAVENOL, Pirelli, Dom Buckley RSC, Faithful Tools, CPL, Hargreaves, Hotmax, Bedmax and 3D Transport.
Image credit: Eddie Kelly Motorsport Photography