Duns rally driver Garry Pearson continued to build valuable experience in the top-flight Motorsport UK British Rally Championship, taking fifth place at a difficult Trackrod Rally Yorkshire [23-24 September].
After six brutal stages in the world-class Dalby, Cropton and Langdale Forests, Pearson and co-driver Dale Furniss returned a solid performance across the slippery and treacherous gravel stages, to head into the final round in October with a chance at finishing in the top three of Britain’s premier rally championship.
And Pearson’s performance was even more impressive, given that he would start the two-day super-fast forest event behind the wheel of a Hankook Tire and Asset Alliance Group-backed Skoda Fabia R5, swapping his usual Fiesta Rally2 for his 2021 National Rally Title-winning machine.
His performance last season in the Skoda would mean the next step of his career lay in the British Rally Championship and the Scot has endured a rollercoaster of a season, mixing zero scores with impressive pace which culminated in his maiden BRC podium at his home round, the Jim Clark Rally.
But Yorkshire offered another first for his 2022 season, a Friday night blast in the Dalby Forest under the cover of darkness to kick off his maiden outing in the Skoda. An issue with the lamp pod meant it would be a tough baptism, but Pearson elected to ensure it was a clean run rather than risk the car, starting day two just 20 seconds shy of the leaders.
Saturday’s changeable weather complicated the tyre choice but once again Pearson dug deep and continued to adapt to the Skoda with every passing stage. Heading into the final loop of Langdale and Dalby tests, the times began to tumble and whilst it was a little too late to make inroads on his position, Pearson professed to be happy with his progress during the day, heading back to the Filey seafront finish in fifth place.
“I’m really happy with the improvement we have made over the weekend, especially with the challenges we faced in terms of the car change and the tricky conditions on Saturday morning,” said Pearson.
“It was great to jump back into the Skoda again and it did feel very familiar, to be honest, but it still took some time to adapt and after some issues with the lights on Friday night, we started off on the back foot. But our pace certainly improved over the day and had we started on the pace we finished on, we could have well been looking at a podium result.”
Pearson will stick with the Skoda for the final round of the championship, the Cambrian Rally in October.
“There is real potential to be unlocked [in the Fabia] so I can’t wait to get into Wales. That rally should suit us a little better than the Yorkshire forests too. Huge thanks go to Hankook Tire, Asset Alliance Group and George Anderson Builders for their support, and I hope I can repay them for their loyalty with a good result to end the season on a high.”