Mark Fish Motorsport's Rick Pearson has announced plans to combine a full Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup campaign with a limited program of events in the prestigious Elf Clio V6 European Trophy in 2001.
After a strong run to fifth place overall in last season's UK driver standings, Pearson recently re-signed to reigning Clio Cup team and driver champions, Mark Fish Motorsport.
"Re-signing to Mark Fish Motorsport means I've secured one of the best drives in the series," he commented. "I fully intend to maximize this advantage in the coming season.
"I had a really strong run of results towards the end of last year, including the win and pole position at Brands Hatch, so I'm in with a good chance of a shot at the title this season.
"Having said that, Daniel Buxton and Matt Jackson are rumoured to be returning to the series, and the Winter Series champion has already signed to race in the championship, so it would be fair to say that the racing will be as competitive as ever."
In addition to a full attack on the UK title, Mark Fish Motorsport will run Pearson in selected rounds of the Elf Clio V6 European Trophy. The series will support several international championships and includes a double-header meeting at the Monaco Grand Prix. Visits to the fabulous Spa-Francorchamps, Magny-Cours and the Nurburgring are also planned.
With a 285bhp, 3 litre, V6 engine, the Clio V6 bears little resemblance to the UK-Spec Clio Sport 172. Despite this, Pearson will be hoping that he can emulate his British success when he makes his European Cup debut at Vallelunga in April.
"The opportunity to compete in a powerful rear wheel drive car, in front of large crowds at famous venues such as Monaco and Spa was just too good to pass up," he explains.
"At the moment we are looking for the budget to be able to compete in both the Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup and the European V6 Trophy. The Mark Fish team never do anything half-heartedly though, so although we are only targeting a partial season in Europe this year, we will be there to compete. We're also regarding it as a fact-finding mission for a full championship challenge in 2002."
<pre> The provisional calendar of European events for Rick Pearson is as follows:
DAT VENU E
20-22 April Vallelunga
24-27 May Monaco
8-10 June Spa-Francorchamps
27-29 July Magny-Cours
14-16 September Nurburgring