Scottish racer Ronan Pearson enjoyed a strong end to his Quaife MINI CHALLENGE season at Brands Hatch to successfully wrap up second in the Graduate Cup standings.
The LDR Performance Tuning driver, sponsored by performance exhaust specialists Cobra Sport - went into the finale on the back of a strong weekend at Donington Park, and was looking to impress at the wheel of his William Waugh-backed machine on what was his first appearance on the full Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
Using pre-event testing to learn the tricky GP loop, the Cobra Sport backed driver qualified in 17th place for the opening race of the weekend with a lap that was little more than a second away from the benchmark time, with hopes high for forward progress across the three races.
A strong start to race one saw Ronan jump up to 13th place on the opening lap, and he then grabbed another spot to sit twelfth between two early safety car periods. Fighting ahead of Liam Lambert, Ronan took the flag in eleventh spot to then head into race two with his eyes on the top ten.
Although he slipped back a place on the opening lap, Ronan wasted little time in moving up into the top ten and would lap quicker than he had done in qualifying as he battled his way through to eighth place at the finish.
As an added bonus, the results of the opening two races enabled him to move ahead of Jason Lockwood into second in the Graduate Cup standings.
With the main championship battle going to the wire, the final race would prove to be an action-packed affair, with Ronan finding himself in the heart of the action inside the top ten.
Dicing on track with Lockwood for a large part of the race, Ronan was able to fight his way ahead on the penultimate lap with a fine move at Surtees to secure sixth place and with it, confirm his second place in the Graduate Cup.
Ronan also wrapped up eighth overall to head into the winter break on a high, with focus already turning towards the 2022 campaign.
"I’m really happy as I hadn’t been here until Friday morning so all of the Grand Prix loop was new to me," he said. "I’ve found so much pace across the weekend once I started to get a bit ballsy with it, and if you’d told me before the weekend I could have eleventh, eighth and sixth then I would have taken it."
"I feel I’ve raced really well this weekend and even on the Indy circuit, I think I was more committed than in the earlier meeting here which is a big positive."
"The season has been a rocky road at times but the final two weekends have been awesome as we showed really strong pace going into the winter, and we’ve picked up some good results along the way."
"Having been second in the Rookie Cup last year, I’ve taken second in the Graduate Cup this year against a very experienced driver in Max Coates. Next season, I’ll only be eligible for the main championship and that is my goal - and there are some exciting things in the pipeline as I work towards that target."