Leading Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) contender Garry Pearson has called `time` on his assault on the 2019 series and will sit out the final two rounds, effectively ending his title hopes.
Pearson, 27 years old from Duns has enjoyed a prosperous season behind the wheel of his Asset Alliance Group, RAVENOL and George Anderson Builders backed Ford Fiesta R5, but with his chances of taking the coveted Scottish Championship title diminished, he has now elected to concentrate on his 2020 campaign.
The former British Junior Champion blasted back onto the SRC scene in 2016 after a season behind the wheel of a Peugeot 208 R2, contesting events in the French Championship. Driving a four-wheel-drive, top-spec Fiesta R5 for the first time, Pearson was instantly in the SRC title hunt, only finishing in second place thanks to a tie-break.
Sporadic outings over the next two years followed as budget constraints restricted the rapid Borders driver’s plans, but he would return to the series at the beginning of 2019, once again equipped with a front-running Fiesta R5 prepared by local firm Dom Buckley RSC.
After forming a partnership with Welsh co-driver Dale Bowen at the tail end of 2018, the duo kicked off their campaign with second place in the snow and ice of the Border Counties Rally in Jedburgh during March.
A non-finish at the Speyside Stages saw Pearson bounce back in fine style at the RSAC Scottish Rally, taking third place which was instantly followed up by second spot at the Argyll Rally in June.
However, with two rounds remaining, such is the scoring of the Championship, Pearson’s dreams of securing the Scottish title became hugely diminished and he has elected to sit out the remainder of the season.
“Of course, this is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make and we as a team have had to make” says a disappointed Pearson.
“We have looked long and hard at our chances this season and it’s pretty non existent to be honest. We came back to the SRC to win the championship and although I`m delighted with my performance this year, it’s just not been enough, and lack of quality seat time has taken its toll. I`m as competitive as it gets so I want to be on maximum attack all the time. So, we had some really difficult calls to make over the Summer break.”
Pearson has cited budget issues as another contributing factor to his withdrawal from the series but has already begun to work on his plans for the following season.
“We have been running to an incredibly tight budget in 2019 which has left zero in the pot to get additional seat time and testing, both of which is essential to being on the pace from the word go, especially in the SRC” he says.
“We have had some incredible support from our backers this season. But I need to look to the long term and the budget we will save by not contesting the Grampian and Galloway Hills, will mean we can hit the ground running in 2020. We don’t know at this stage what next year will hold, but our commitment remains to be competing to win Championships and develop further as a team. Dale and I would like to thank our sponsors for all their hard work and unwavering dedication to our campaign and for supporting our decision.”
Pearson is supported by Asset Alliance Group, George Anderson Builders, Pearson’s of Duns, RAVENOL, Pirelli, Dom Buckley RSC, Faithful Tools, CPL, RL Smith & Sons, Hargreaves, Hotmax, Crailing Toft Potatoes, Bedmax and 3D Transport.