SUPERB SECOND FOR PEARCE AT SPA Patrick Pearce played a key part in the LNT TVR team's astonishing one-two finish in the GT class at the famous Spa 1000km race last weekend. The Belgian event -- one of the most prestigious in sportscar racing --...
SUPERB SECOND FOR PEARCE AT SPA
Patrick Pearce played a key part in the LNT TVR team's astonishing one-two finish in the GT class at the famous Spa 1000km race last weekend. The Belgian event -- one of the most prestigious in sportscar racing -- was the first round of this season's Le Mans Endurance Series, so Pearce's second place gets his bid for the GT class title off to a very strong start.
Qualifying was promising but gave little hint of what was to come, as Pearce and co-drivers Jason Templeman and Marc Hynes lined-up eighth on the GT grid after potentially faster laps were hampered by slower traffic. The 4.3-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes forests is renowned for both its majestic corners, and its turbulent climate -- and the latter blighted the 1000km weekend. Pearce was undeterred by the rain and fog, however.
"The conditions were borderline when they decided to start the race," he admitted. "The fog was pretty bad and there was only ever a small dry line on the track. But you've just got to keep your eyes open and watch out for the other cars. It was tough, but I love driving in changeable conditions anyway."
While others floundered on the slippery track, Pearce and his co-drivers charged through the field -- progressing from eighth to third in the opening hour and never looking back. When the leading Ferrari went off under pressure from Pearce's team-mates, the two LNT TVRs established themselves in first and second places. The Pearce/Templeman/Hynes trio duly followed team owner-driver Lawrence Tomlinson and his co-drivers Warren Hughes and Jonny Kane home in a remarkable display of team dominance.
"It was a really, really good race, and our strategy came together perfectly, exactly as we'd planned it," said Patrick. "We weren't gifted any of those places -- we had to fight for it all the way.
"Lawrence has done an amazing job to get this team together and make it successful so quickly. Everyone from chief engineer Alan Mugglestone to the guys who change the tyres is working to the absolute best of their ability at all times, and they all deserve the success we're having."
The result had an added significance for Patrick, who sustained a severe concussion in a violent accident at Spa's Eau Rouge corner when he last raced at the track in September 2004. Such an incident would discourage many from returning, but Pearce said he had long since put it behind him.
"The accident didn't even cross my mind this weekend," he said. "People kept asking me about it, but the first time I drove through Eau Rouge I wasn't thinking about that, I was just thinking about how much I love the corner. No matter what happens, you've just got to get on with racing."