Pearson back on trophy trail at Spa. Mark Fish Motorsport's Rick Pearson stormed back onto the Renault Sport Clio Trophy pace at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, taking eleventh place in the nine-lap race after a two-month absence from the ...
Pearson back on trophy trail at Spa.
Mark Fish Motorsport's Rick Pearson stormed back onto the Renault Sport Clio Trophy pace at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, taking eleventh place in the nine-lap race after a two-month absence from the series.
Qualifying: 18th: 2:45.199
Despite a strong tenth place in the official test session, Pearson lost eight places in final qualifying after running on old tyres due to budget restrictions.
"After tenth place in testing, we were all hoping for a good grid spot come Friday qualifying. Although we've lost a lot of track time to the other teams and drivers in the last three rounds, the data from Thursday's test showed significant improvements on last year's performance.
"Eighteenth wasn't the spot we were hoping for but the race is a different game entirely and anything can -- and usually does- happen at Spa."
After heavy rain the previous day, the Clio Trophy race was held on an extremely damp circuit. With twenty-five Clio V6's kicking up spray, an exciting first lap saw Pearson lose a place off the line to MRS Team driver Ulrich Rossaro before hustling back into eighteenth with a daring move on the grass at Radillon, clocked at over 100mph.
Fortunes were reversed later that lap with the Mark Fish Clio steaming past Italian runner Andrea Pagliai to take seventeenth place. Held up at the Bus Stop, Pearson lost the place but re-took track position with a decisive move around the outside of the Autotottoli car at Les Combes.
After passing Team Start's Lorenzo Case at Pouhon, Pearson set about closing the gap to the second Autosport Promotion runner, Frenchman Eric Mafitas. Fully in to his swing, Pearson passed Mafitas and a second driver under breaking together in a fantastic double-whammy at the Bus Stop.
With four laps remaining, the lead pack were already on their way to an insurmountable advantage and Pearson was able to cruise to the flag for an untroubled eleventh place finish.
Notwithstanding ninth place in the non-championship round of the Clio Trophy at Monaco two months ago, eleventh is the best result of the season to date for Pearson and his Mark Fish Motorsport team.
"I'm extremely pleased to finish in eleventh place having been out of the car for three races," Pearson commented. "I was hoping to build on my form in Monaco and today's result shows that despite the loss of races and testing opportunities, we're continuing to close the gap to the regular top ten runners.
"We're now going to go away and concentrate on looking for a budget to finish the season. If we can't find the money to go to Imola in three weeks time, we'll continue to work towards racing in the following round of the championship at Donington Park in October."