Scottish racer Ronan Pearson endured a frustrating weekend on home soil as the Quaife MINI CHALLENGE headed for Knockhill for the fourth meeting of the year.
Ronan - from nearby Kelty - was eager to impress in front of a packed crowd, and was looking to make the most of extensive knowledge from his day job as an instructor at the Fife circuit.
Having shown solid pace through pre-event testing, the Cobra Sport sponsored teenager headed into the race weekend itself feeling confident at the wheel of his LDR Performance Tuning-run car.
Qualifying would prove to be a hard-fought affair that saw the leading 18 drivers covered by a second, with Ronan ending up twelfth on the grid with a time that less than a tenth of a second away from the top eight.
Unfortunately for Ronan, his hopes of pushing forwards towards the top ten in the opening race would be hit by a mysterious handling issue that developed on the #66 car, and which hampered his ability to really attack the kerbs at either Duffus Dip and the Chicane.
Despite the issue making the car increasingly tricky to drive - and with Ronan also starting to suffer with fading brakes - he battled hard to ensure that he would finish the race where he started, taking the flag in twelfth spot having at one point slipped back to 14th.
Race two would be red-flagged after an incident at the start, and when Lewis Brown and James MacIntyre then went off at the start of lap two after the restart, Ronan was lucky to avoid being collected as the two cars came across the circuit at McIntyres.
Brown’s spinning car would miss the front of Ronan's William Waugh-backed machine by a matter of inches but from that point on, Ronan would lap noticeably quicker than he had been able to do in race one as he battled his way to a top ten finish.
Lining up tenth for the final race, Ronan held his place through the early stages of the race before a mistake cost him two places as he slipped back to twelfth. A heavy off for Isaac Smith then moved Ronan back up to eleventh, which is where he would finish as the race drew to a close behind the safety car.
Ronan ends the weekend just ten points away from the top eight in the standings going into a short break before the next round of the season at Croft in September.
"There is no escaping the fact that it's been a tough weekend, and the results certainly aren't what I was looking for from my home event," he said. "After the pre-event test, we started to suffer with some gremlins that made the car a real handful and I couldn't show my true pace in qualifying.
"When it's so close on the times, that meant I had work to do in the races and the first one was unbelievably tricky; I don't think I've ever had to put so much effort in for so little reward.
'The team worked so hard to try and solve the problems we had with the car for Sunday and I can't fault their effort to get us back to where we should have been. The pace in race two was much improved even though I was still suffering with the brakes, but in race three, I didn't do myself justice on track and paid the price for not defending a move as much as I should have done.
"Last season, I would have been happy to come away from the weekend with a top ten, but the fact I am disappointed this year shows how my expectations have risen.
"The positive is that the car is in one piece as that could have been a lot different if I'd been collected in race two. Now I just have to put the weekend behind me and regroup ready for the next round at Croft to ensure that I come out fighting for the kind of results I know I'm capable of."