Duns rally driver Garry Pearson underlined his asphalt pace at last weekend’s Rali Ceredigion [3-4 September] after battling for a podium spot in the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship.
Pearson and co-driver Dale Furniss entered a thrilling duel for third place at the fifth round of Britain’s premier rally series, which took place over two hard-fought days on the closed roads around the seaside town of Aberystwyth in Wales.
Their Hankook Tire and Asset Alliance Group-backed Ford Fiesta Rally2 was pushed to its limit over both legs of the unforgiving event, despite Pearson only tackling his third ever closed road asphalt event in the car. After over 85 miles of gruelling rallying action, Pearson hauled his way to fourth BRC crew home, only hampered by an incorrect tyre choice on Sunday morning.
“I`m extremely pleased with the pace we showed this weekend considering the experience of the guys around us” enthused Pearson at the finish.
“To jump into a Rally2 car and compete at the sharp end of the British Championship takes a lot of seat time so to say we were so close to our second podium of the season on a surface I`m not that familiar with, is very positive for the future”.
The rapid Scot has impressed on his debut season in the BRC1 category and sighted 2022 as a learning year after scooping four major titles last year. His BRC campaign has seen flashes of brilliance and some impressive stage times, taking his very first top-flight podium on his home event, the Jim Clark Rally.
But Rali Ceredigion would offer a new challenge with two days of treacherous moorland roads in the heart of the Welsh hills to contend with, including two stages under the cover of darkness on Saturday night.
Two stages around the Aberystwyth seafront kicked off the event and Pearson was immediate in contention, just 2.7 seconds shy of the leader as the crowds flocked to the streets to watch the action. The night tests were hampered by stoppages and with an hour delay came cold brakes and tyres, meaning Pearson elected to take a cautious approach, but still ended the opening leg in fourth.
Sunday saw a change in the weather, with heavy rain greeting crews at the start of the leg. But the rain quickly made way for sunshine and with a wet Hankook Tire option bolted to the Fiesta, Pearson would struggle in the drying conditions.
Nevertheless, Pearson would battle on and would move into third place during the opening loop of stages. Sadly, clipping a rock on the nearside left during the final stage of the morning handed him a puncture and he would head back to service in fourth thanks to the subsequent time loss.
Now equipped with the right dry tyre option, a series of top three times over the final loop followed, missing out on a podium by just eight seconds.
“I’ve learnt so much this weekend” continued Pearson.
“Everything came together for us this weekend despite having never contested the event before and it was just a little unlucky that our tyre choice put us back on Sunday morning. The Hankook tyres were working well, and I was starting to be able to push but I know there is much more to come as we continue to develop our asphalt pace. It’s certainly a boost to the confidence when you can show that pace and I`m looking forward to the final two rounds which switch back to gravel.