Clio specialist Rick Pearson will make his British GT Championship debut at Knockhill next weekend after being called up by series newcomers, Atlanta Motorsport. Pearson will partner regular Atlanta driver Enzo Mucci in the same Clio V6 he ...
Clio specialist Rick Pearson will make his British GT Championship debut at Knockhill next weekend after being called up by series newcomers, Atlanta Motorsport. Pearson will partner regular Atlanta driver Enzo Mucci in the same Clio V6 he campaigned in the 2001-2002 European Clio Trophy, taking it to a championship-best ninth place at Monaco, and fifteenth at Spa-Francorchamps.
Pearson said: "I've made no secret of the fact that my ultimate aim is to race in a GT championship so this is a great opportunity for me. Although it is just a one race deal, I'm delighted to be joining the British Championship, especially with the V6 Clio I raced across Europe last season.
"The car has been fairly uncompetitive so far this year, but there's a lot of potential there and I'm confident we can cause a few stirs in Scotland."
The double-header meeting at Knockhill marks a turning point for the British GT race format, with the traditional sixty-minute endurance race replaced by two forty-minute sprints. The tight and twisty Knockhill circuit is notorious for catching drivers unawares, although Pearson will be on his guard after a rocky ride at Knockhill in his last race there, in the 2000 Elf Clio Renaultsport UK Cup.
With round three of the British GT Championship clashing with the third of the European Super Racing Weekends, Pearson will not race in the European Clio Cup at Enna Pergusa on 10 May.
He was in action for round two of the European Clio Cup last weekend, held at a wet Magny-Cours. After topping the first test of the year at Valencia and running well in round one at Barcelona two weeks ago, Pearson was hoping for a top five placing in France but came undone in first qualifying as he and his team, German-based Sesterheim Motorsport, struggled to find a suitable balance for the car.
After posting the twenty-third quickest time in session one, Pearson -- the sole British entrant in the championship- was again caught out by the conditions but improved to eighteenth on the thirty-two car grid in second qualifying.
With no let-up in the rain, Pearson manhandled his 2-litre Clio up the grid, finishing a respectable eighteenth after struggling with wayward handling for much of the fourteen lap race.
"A tough weekend but that's racing," he commented. "We struggled in qualifying because we didn't have any wet weather experience with the car. It was the same story in the race. Although I did run strongly and improve several places on my starting position, it was a frustrating fourteen laps because wayward handling meant I spent more time on opposite lock than going forwards."
Rick Pearson races with DIRT mountain bikes and MINTEX brake pads.
Next Race: Knockhill May 10-11: Rounds 3 & 4 of the British GT Championship