Patrick's podium placing
ST Albans youngster Patrick Pearce grabbed his first ever podium finish last weekend in the last round of the Rotax European Kart Championship held at Salbris, France. Coming into the race, the season had not gone so well for the world number six and Bri
ST Albans youngster Patrick Pearce grabbed his first ever podium finish last weekend in the last round of the Rotax European Kart Championship held at Salbris, France.
Coming into the race, the season had not gone so well for the world number six and British number two having had a serious accident earlier on in the year in Italy. This meant that a result was a must to impress sponsors and lay to rest his critics.
In the two-day build up to the race, Pearce posted the third fastest time in practice and the team was very confident going into qualifying.
For qualifying the team made an engine change and Patrick qualified a miserable 12th. During the qualifying Pearce had problems engaging into second gear on the 90mph machine which saw him lose a lot of time. Throughout the heats he suffered the same problems and struggled to impress in the 30-kart field, which had drivers from all five continents represented. After the heats Pearce would start 11th for the Pre-Final which wasn't so bad considering the problems.
On the Saturday evening Patrick and the team worked into the late hours of the night trying to diagnose and solve the problem with the gears and engine.
The warm up on Sunday morning proved successful with Pearce setting the sixth fastest lap and the problem with shifting gears having seemed to have disappeared.
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The next job was to decide on a tyre strategy for the two finals as each competitor could use a brand new set for their chosen final.
New tyres are worth up to half a second a lap over a 10-lap period so it was not such an easy decision.
Pearce and the team gambled for the Pre-Final and were one of five drivers on the grid to use their old tyres for the race. The gamble paid off and Patrick finished 10th which would be his starting position for the Grand-Final.
For the start of the Grand-Final there was absolute carnage and this pushed Patrick back into 15th position with a podium surely out of reach. After three laps Patrick was still down in 15th and at this point the kart was now at its peak with the new tyres coming into affect. From here on Pearce drove to fourth place in the 14 lap race to then discover when he came in that the eventual winner had been given a 10-second penalty for jumping the start promoting him to third.
"This has been a great result for my team and me due to all the problems we have had all year and with me getting injured badly in Italy," said Pearce.
"Coming into the Grand-Final I knew there was definitely a chance of a great result and our new design chassis works fantastic.
"It's also great to be the highest placed British driver once again. I would like to thank my sponsors Bennetts, Paper Planet, Transloader Services and PCR Karts for their help this year and for keeping their faith in me."
After this result Patrick was still able to gain a seeded number for the European Championship next year despite missing a race due to the injury.