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Motorsport UK British Rally Championship frontrunner Garry Pearson was eager to take away the positives from his Grampian Forest Rally experience last weekend [13 August], despite not making it to the finish of the fourth round of the series.

A confidence boosting pace across the super-fast gravel forest tests of Durris, Drumtochty and Fetteresso saw the Duns driver challenge for yet another British Rally Championship podium, sitting just a handful of seconds away from second overall.

Sadly, heading into the final loop of the rally, Pearson’s Asset Alliance Group and Hankook Tire backed Ford Fiesta Rally2 was forced wide on a tricky section and was stuck in the undergrowth. With no spectators nearby to assist, Pearson’s rally was over.

Partnered by Dale Furniss in the co-driver’s seat for 2022, Pearson has enjoyed an impressive debut season in the BRC 1 top-flight since progressing from the National Rally series. With four major titles under his belt in 2021, the rapid Scot would embark on his inaugural BRC campaign, starting in Essex with a difficult baptism in April.

Pearson’s home event, the Jim Clark Rally saw him take his maiden BRC podium with third overall, firmly stamping his intentions on the BRC scoreboards. A fourth place on the gravel of the Nicky Grist Stages last month further unlined his consistency and the Grampian Rally offered an opportunity to capitalise on a strong run of form.

And his day got off to a strong start, just five seconds off the lead on the opening stage of the rally was a sign of the progress made since last month’s trip to Wales. By the second loop of stages, he was sitting fourth but just four seconds away from a podium position. The searing heat and lingering dust made a charge up the leader board a tough prospect.

Sadly, on the penultimate stage of the event, Pearson ran wide and clipped some soft banking which sucked the Fiesta Rally2 into a boggy ditch and instant retirement. But he was eager to reflect on the positives from the rally.

“Of course, this is ultimately not the result we wanted from the weekend but I`m really pleased with the performance we put in during the day,” said Pearson.

“To be that close to the front of the British rally Championship pace on only our second gravel event in the car is very encouraging indeed. We had been working extremely hard on the setup of the car since the Nicky Grist and as a team, we have been looking at ways we can do things differently to improve.”

“That hard work paid off and shows on the pace we had, and everything seemed to come together. The Hankook tyres were working well, and we had a good feeling in the car so felt confident enough to try and find the limits of the car. Sadly, it was one of those things and we just got caught out. We got it out and drove the car back to service so it was just unlucky that we were beached.”

The British Rally Championship offers two dropped scores over the season, so all is not lost for Pearson. In just three weeks’ time, the series makes a return to a sealed surface and heads back to Wales for Rali Ceredigion an event he has never done before.

“We have always said this is a learning year for us and tackling new events in unfamiliar territory is part of that process. It will be good to get back onto tar again this year as we can put what we learned at the Jim Clark to good use. It will be a challenge of course, but that is why we are here.”

Pearson is supported by Asset Alliance Group, George Anderson Builders, Pearson’s of Duns, Hankook Tire Limited, John Lawrie Metals, RL Smith & Sons, Husqvarna, Border Chainsaw & Lawnmower Services, Beatson’s Building Supplies and Carbon Positive Motorsport.

Image credits: British Rally Championship

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