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Ronan Pearson delights in ‘surreal’ maiden BTCC win

Ronan Pearson said the experience of claiming his maiden British Touring Car Championship win at Brands Hatch was ‘surreal’ after he prevailed in the final race of the day.

EXCELR8 Motorsport’s Pearson had gone into race day off the back of yet another top ten qualifying result, and was challenging for a top ten finish in race one before contact from BMW’s Adam Morgan ended his charge.

Recovering eight places in race two, the Scot was then randomly selected to start the final race of the day from pole position.

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Despite losing out to Árón Taylor-Smith at the start, Pearson fought back on the same lap and decisively reclaimed the lead at Clearways.

He then proved his mettle by extending his lead at the front to over three seconds and claimed not only his first outright podium but a maiden win.

“It’s really surreal at the minute – obviously there’s so much jubilation and relief with crossing that line, because we’ve been so close a few times,” said Pearson to TouringCars.Net.

“We’ve had podiums and we didn’t get to keep them, and it’s been something really on my mind, because when everything is clicking the car and myself are working really well and anything is possible.

“It was always a case of when and not if. Like today – I was in the wall at 12:30 not expecting to deliver that. You’ve just got to keep yourself calm, don’t give up, manifest the good things and you can only control yourself and that’s what we did.”

Pearson said that after qualifying in the top ten once again he reflected on the company he was keeping on the grid.

“We’re at the pinnacle of British motor sport here. With qualifying ninth, I looked at everyone around me when we were sat on the start grid for race one, and I thought ‘bloody hell, we’re here again’.

“With fifth and ninth in qualifying at the first two events, you’re lining up with some world champions and I had the feeling that I belong.”

After the disappointment of race one, Pearson said he just had to keep his head down and work to get back in a position to salvage his race day result.

“We should have been up there on merit, not with the reverse grid, but obviously you have to make up, get some fruit for your labour, by lucking into things like [the reverse grid draw] sometimes.

“We put ourselves in the position to be in the draw with a really good race two, and now look at us – BTCC race winners.

“My start was average. I looked pretty even with everyone else behind me, but Árón shot off, fair play.

“I thought ‘not this again’. I had to go out there and give it everything – I didn’t leave an inch on the table. There was half a car’s width and I made that mine, into Clearways on lap one, and I sailed away with it.”

Pearson says his upturn in performance this year is largely down to being able to rely on a year’s worth of experience from his maiden season in 2022.

“The key word is experience. A whole year under my belt and then six months to reflect and focus on the areas I needed to improve on has been the biggest thing for me, coupled with a car that’s working for me now.

“It was a real struggle at points last year and it’s now come back around. The guys are incredible here; the engineers have done a great job over the winter.

“How the car operates is like night and day and we’ve shown that from the minute we started pre-season testing, at round one and now here.

“So, it’s a combination of things but obviously it takes that to deliver results like this. Everything’s got to click and I was wondering for a while when it would.”

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