PEARCE CHARGES TO SECOND IN BRITISH GT OPENER An astonishing early race charge by Patrick Pearce secured second place for the Stratford-upon-Avon racer and his LNT TVR team in the first round of the British GT Championship at Donington Park...
PEARCE CHARGES TO SECOND IN BRITISH GT OPENER
An astonishing early race charge by Patrick Pearce secured second place for the Stratford-upon-Avon racer and his LNT TVR team in the first round of the British GT Championship at Donington Park today (3rd April). JPearce and team-mate Warren Hughes arrived at the Leicestershire track fresh from a star performance in the Sebring 12 Hour race in Florida two weeks earlier. The pair duly qualified fifth in the huge British GT field but Pearce -- driving the opening stint in the two-hour long race -- looked destined for the podium from the moment the lights went out.
Although he dropped a place to sixth at the first corner, Patrick soon got back into the top five and then began a fierce battle with the Porsche of David Jones. The latter's defensive driving twice left Pearce on the grass on lap four, but he was undeterred and ultimately powered ahead down the Craner Curves. Driving superbly on a surface made treacherous by spilt oil, Patrick then chased down the Ferrari 360 of Chris Niarchos and moved into third with a supremely brave move into the Old Hairpin on lap 12.
Next in his sights was Ben Collins' second-placed Porsche GT3, Pearce lapping over a second per lap quicker than his vastly experienced quarry. Some very close side-by-side racing through Schwantz Curve and Coppice on lap 20 put Pearce into second place, a position he consolidated before handing over the TVR T400R to Hughes 35 laps later. Patrick's fearless charge through the field had been the highlight of the frenetic opening stint, and proved beyond doubt that he deserves his place in LNT's illustrious driver line-up.
"That seemed to go according to plan," said Pearce as he watched Hughes bring the TVR home in the second place that Patrick had secured for the team. "I made a bit of a mess of the start and Jones got by me. It was a bit of a tussle to get past him -- he was 'blocking' to use a mild word...
"After that some oil went down and everyone seemed to be using the wrong line. I was pulling them all in really quickly and easily. I pushed a bit harder on the tyres towards the end, but I really wanted to give Warren a good car for his stint.
"We've got a lot of races to do this year -- with our Le Mans Endurance Series programme as well -- and this is a great start. We were right on the pace from the start of testing on Thursday and it couldn't have gone any better."
Next on Patrick and Team LNT's schedule is the first LMES round at Spa-Francorchamps in two weeks' time. The last time Pearce raced at the Belgian track he suffered a large accident in a Dallara sports-prototype, but he's unfazed by this memory and is relishing his return to Spa.
"I can't wait to get back there and get on the podium again," he said.