Fourth podium finish on trot for Duns rally driver Garry Pearson
Winning the Filey-based event secured this year’s British title for World Rally Championship-2 driver Adrien Fourmaux with one round to spare, so Pearson and co-driver Daniel Barritt are now setting their sights on second place overall come next month’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally in Wales.
It was the Borderer’s first gravel rally in his new Volkswagen Polo GTi R5 and he turned to three-time British rally champion Matt Edwards for advice beforehand.
Those tips from the top from the Welsh record-breaker and a switch to Pirelli tyres helped the 32-year-old finish just 1.4 seconds behind Frenchman Fourmaux in Friday night’s 12-mile stage in Dalby Forest and he kept hold of second place after Saturday’s five stages.
Back on his favoured gravel surface but with no rear brakes for Saturday’s last stage, that was Pearson’s fourth podium finish on the bounce and third consecutive second place, all but assuring him of second place in this year's championship.
“It’s been a very positive weekend,” he said afterwards.
“It was my first time in the Polo on gravel, first time back on Pirellis in over two years and yet another podium. We can be really happy with that.
“I wanted to come here and narrow the deficit to the front-running pace, and that's exactly what we've done.
“It really is such a pleasure to compete when things go this well, so thanks to our sponsors for making it happen and the Melvyn Evans Motorsport team for preparing such a great car, as always.
“It’s been great to show our consistency at recent rallies but I'm really pleased to have proved what we can do pace-wise. It’s really promising for the future.
"Now we've got a month to prepare for the final round, the Cambrian Rally, where we hope to secure second in the championship."
Fourmaux, 28, clinched his first British title at the weekend and paying tribute to his rival, Pearson said: “Adrien is more than deserving of his championship title this year.
“He’s been an extraordinary benchmark to compete against and that’s really brought me along as a driver.”