Fulham's Rick Pearson made his European Renaultsport Clio Trophy debut at Monza last weekend, finishing a creditable twentieth in the Renaultsport Trophy race. Qualifying: 33rd Following a full day's testing ahead of Saturday qualifying,...
Fulham's Rick Pearson made his European Renaultsport Clio Trophy debut at Monza last weekend, finishing a creditable twentieth in the Renaultsport Trophy race.
Following a full day's testing ahead of Saturday qualifying, Pearson improved on his best time by 1.3 seconds in session one. Like the majority of runners, he was unable to improve on his time in second qualifying and was classified thirty-third.
"I managed to go faster and faster as practise went on, though I was still learning both the car and the track when we got to qualifying," he explained. "I found 1.3 seconds in the first session, but then failed to improve in the second, leaving me thirty-third on a grid of sixty-six.
"Although this meant I was the top British runner, it left me in the qualifying race for the main event and I also missed qualifying for the next round at Monaco by just three places."
With the top six finishers in the Renaultsport Trophy race automatically admitted onto the grid for round one of the Renaultsport Clio Trophy, Pearson's third place grid spot looked to be an ideal position from which to start the race.
The Mark Fish charge held position despite some aggressive jostling after the rolling start on the run down and through the first chicane. Troubles on the first lap accounted for seven competitors, bringing the Safety Car out on lap two.
However, a second restart saw Pearson lose positions in dramatic fashion. Hit once on lap five and then again under braking for the second chicane on lap six, the former Clio Cup front-runner fell through the order while recovering from a hair-raising ride through the gravel trap. "I was doing over 130mph when I was tapped round under braking for the second chicane," he said. "Although I managed to clear most of the gravel trap backwards, by the time I got back onto the track it was in twentieth position with no time to recover any of the lost places.
"Twentieth was a slightly disappointing result given that I started third on the grid, but I've made huge steps forward in my confidence in the car and I'm really looking forward to the next race. I'm convinced that by mid-season, we'll be in position to take the fight to the front men."