Ronan Pearson becomes the BTCC's newest race winner

15th May 2024

Team BRISTOL STREET MOTORS secured a third win of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch, but this one was different... it was a hugely popular first ever win for the talented Ronan Pearson.

"It’s hard to know what to say - I can’t believe I’ve gone and scored my first win!" enthused Pearson. "Considering that I was in the wall earlier in the day, things could have been a lot different than they are, and I’m so pleased to be able to bring the car home in that third race. My engineer was giving me updates on how I was getting on and I was just praying there would be no safety car once I’d got a gap.

"It’s been a long journey to get this point and I’ve never given up, and huge thanks has to go to the team for their efforts in giving me a fantastic car, and everyone who has supported me through to the years.

"We’ve shown good pace now at two very different circuits in very different conditions which is a big positive, and we have to try and carry this momentum into Snetterton next time out."

The EXCELR8-run team headed into the weekend on the back of a strong showing at Donington Park two weeks earlier, where Tom Ingram had scored two wins from three to lead the Drivers’ standings.

Free practice around the short Indy layout of the Brands Hatch circuit showed the potential of the Hyundai i30 Fastback N as Tom Chilton topped the times in the second session, with Pearson also inside the top ten and Ingram less then half a second off the pace despite only having limited hybrid to use. Nick Halstead also lapped solidly on a circuit he admits isn’t amongst his favourites, improving his best time across the two sessions.

The impact of Ingram’s lack of hybrid was evident in qualifying as he had to settle for eighth on the grid, just ahead Pearson and Chilton, with Halstead lining up for the opening race in 20th spot.

The first race of the weekend saw Chilton emerge as the highest-placed of the Hyundai drivers after a mid-race pass on Ingram, with the pair running together through to the finish in sixth and seventh place.

Pearson had been running close behind before he was forced off the circuit on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend by the BMW of Adam Morgan and dropped two laps down having been forced to pit for repairs, whilst Halstead stayed out of trouble to make his way up to 17th by the finish.

With more hybrid available for race two, Ingram charged his way through to take a fine second place, with the highlight coming in a wheel-to-wheel battle with title rival Ash Sutton that saw Ingram pull off a stunning overtake going into Paddock Hill Bend.

Chilton again finished in sixth place, with Pearson coming through the pack to take eleventh from the back of the grid and Halstead maximising his hybrid usage to open his points account for the season in 13th - only missing out on 12th by the smallest of margins in a drag race to the line.

The top eleven on the grid was reversed for race three to put Pearson on pole although he lost the lead when the lights went out and he bogged down off the line. The Scot reclaimed the lead before the end of lap one however with a fine move at Clearways and then eased away at the front of the pack to secure a maiden BTCC victory.

Chilton joined him on the podium to make it a Hyundai one-two after a strong drive through from sixth on the grid, highlighted by his own move at Paddock Hill Bend five laps from the end that saw him get ahead of the Astra of Aron Taylor-Smith to secure the place.

Unfortunately for Ingram, he would have to settle for a single point for setting the fastest lap after being forced to pit with a front-left puncture, with Halstead picking up a ten second penalty for being out of position at the start that left him in 17th place.

Ingram sits third in the standings at the end of the weekend, with Chilton in seventh and Pearson 12th, with Pearson now second in the Jack Sears Trophy standings ahead of Halstead. Team BRISTOL STREET MOTORS also sits third in the Teams’ Championship ahead of the next event at Snetterton.

Justina Williams, Team Owner, said: “It’s been a really strong weekend and to come away from Brands Hatch with a win, three podiums and points for all four drivers is fantastic. We’re so proud to see Ronan get onto the top step for the first time as he has worked so hard to get to this stage and richly deserves his victory, and to score a 1-2 finish is brilliant for the team against such strong opposition.

“Aside from the puncture in race three, there are a lot of positives we can take away from the weekend and will look to maintain our progress at Snetterton in a few weeks time.” © 2024
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