Mark Fish Motorsport's Rick Pearson claimed a stunning maiden victory in round ten of the Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup victory at Brands Hatch last weekend. QUALIFYING: POLE POSITION, 52.857s Having recently spent a successful two days testing...
Mark Fish Motorsport's Rick Pearson claimed a stunning maiden victory in round ten of the Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup victory at Brands Hatch last weekend.
QUALIFYING: POLE POSITION, 52.857s
Having recently spent a successful two days testing on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in readiness for round ten of the series, Pearson was confident of a strong qualifying performance. Following a brief break in the afternoon qualifying session to retrieve the sister ActiveShop car of Paul Lomax on the approach to Clearways, Pearson charged to the top of the time sheets on his second flying lap.
Despite the best efforts of championship leader and fellow Mark Fish Motorsport charge, Jim Edwards Jnr, Pearson's time of 52.857s was not bettered. It was the second pole position of the season for the former Super Coupe Cup runner whose qualifying heroics propelled him to the front of the 'night race' grid at Snetterton last month.
RACE: WINNER, 21m 50.915s
Rain showers an hour before the race was due to get underway resulted in more than a few set-up worries as all previous testing had been conducted on a dry track. Despite this, Pearson elected to stick with his dry configuration with the aim of maximising the dry line created by the preceeding Touring Car race.
Avoiding the puddle marking pole position, the thirty-year-old Englishman rocketed off the line to lead the field on their first tour of the 1.22 mile Indy circuit. Arriving at Druids, a lurid slide on the wet inside line temporarily demoted him to third behind an opportunistic Jason Templeman. Three laps later, the Mark Fish-run Pearson dived past new-leader Templeman upon exiting Paddock Hill bend and settled in for a thirteen lap stint at the head of the pack.
In what was arguably one of the most frenetic and exciting races of the campaign, back markers on lap seventeen proved to be a catalyst for a heated late-race battle for supremacy. While Pearson fought his way past the slower machines, second placed man Henry Taylor ran in Rick's wheel tracks in the hope of capitalising on any mistake. Taylor pounced when Pearson ran wide at Graham Hill bend, though the erstwhile leader wrestled back the lost position with a brave last gasp manoeuvre under breaking for Clearways three laps from home.
With the chequered flag in his sights, a jubilant Pearson fended off further attentions from Taylor to clinch his inaugural Clio Cup victory after twenty four laps of the twisty Kent track .
"Taking the chequered flag in front of the big Bank Holiday crowd - many of whom had stayed on after the Touring Car race- to take my first Clio victory was an ambition I had held since seeing my first race at Brands as a child, some twelve years before," he said. "It was a truly memorable experience which should, I hope, make mesmeric television viewing."
SUMMARY: Qualifying: Pole, 52.857s
Race: Winner, 21m 50.915s
Rick Pearson returns to action in the Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup in two weeks time at Oulton Park (09-10 September).