Duns driver Garry Pearson hoping to pull off British Rally Championship title upset at Filey
The 32-year-old – second in the standings with 63 points from five rounds – is now the only driver in with a mathematical chance of stopping World Rally Championship-2 competitor Adrien Fourmaux from winning this year’s British title.
Victory at this Friday and Saturday’s Filey-based rally would secure the title for the Frenchman, 42 points in front of the Borderer at the moment, with one round to spare.
However, if Pearson manages to upset the odds by finishing higher up the podium than the 28-year-old this weekend, he’d be in with a shout of winning the title as double points are up for grabs at the final round of the championship, the Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally at Llandudno at the end of October.
Pearson, to be accompanied in his Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 by co-driver Daniel Barritt, is well aware that getting the better of Fourmaux is a tall order but is determined to give it his best shot to stay close enough to him to take advantage if the front-runner slips up.
"I’ve just got to go and do my best and try to get as close to Adrien as I can,” he said.
“I’m under no illusions that he’s going to be incredibly hard to beat – he’s won every single British championship event he’s started this year and is a world-class driver benefiting from loads of good seat-time – but while we’ve still got a chance, we’ve got to go for it.
“We can be really pleased with our progress on Tarmac, and to have scored three podiums in a row now is amazing, but I’ve always been more comfortable on gravel.
“Ultimately we want to be closer to the front-running pace than we have been at recent events on a surface I’m much more confident on.”
This weekend’s rally takes place over a 57-mile track across two legs, starting on Friday night with a run through Dalby Forest after dark.
Pearson will be contesting the North Yorkshire rally for the third year on the trot so he’s hoping that experience stands him in good stead, adding: “I’ve done Dalby in the dark twice before, which definitely helps.
“It’s one of the most enjoyable stages in the UK and a good performance there will likely be key to any good result.
“I’m really looking forward to discovering how the VW is on gravel as well because I’ve not driven the car on that surface yet either.
“I can’t wait to get going and give it our best shot.”