A French connection and new team for Duns driver Garry

Garry Pearson of Duns behind the wheel of his new car ready for the 2012 rally season
Garry Pearson of Duns behind the wheel of his new car ready for the 2012 rally season

Duns rally driver Garry Pearson is about to embark on one of his toughest challenges yet when he enters this weekend’s Rallye Terre Des Causses in southern France.

Garry who has been absent from the stages since November’s Rally Great Britain, has remained tight-lipped on his plans over the winter but has had an extremely busy closed season.

We need to go at it with a sensible head and look at the overall 208 Cup and development as a whole

Garry Pearson

The decision has now been taken to compete in the The Peugeot Cup, the hotly contested championship run by Peugeot France. It consists of seven events between April and November and finishes with the ever popular Rallye Du Var.

Previous winners of the Cup include none other than current World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier.

Garry, who will compete for French team AFC Racing, explained: “We would usually be up in running in our season by now but only got our plans and schedule sorted only at the beginning of last month so it’s taken a lot of pre-season time up.

“It’s been a whirlwind experience for me learning French, practising making pacenotes, especially for one pass recce, and testing as much as possible. Loeb and Ogier learned in France so I’m going to learn what it is that’s different and special.”

Garry, British Junior Rally Champion in 2012, has been developing his rally driving skills with Whitsome co-driver Claire Mole, who will be taking up the co-driver’s this season.

Claire has a wealth of experience having competed in an array of international rallies all over the world with some top class drivers.

“It’s great to have Claire on board she brings so much experience and knowledge to the team,” said Garry

“We have worked closely on our pacenotes over the winter months and I think this will benefit us in France.”

Garry will be driving for AFC Racing, spearheaded by French driver Emmanuael Gascou but AFC’s team manager Fred Comte team manager is hoping the Duns driver can contribute to the 208 Team Cup. He said: “It’s good to have an international driver in the team like Garry, it will be interesting to see how we can develop with him.”

Garry is going into his third year in R2 Competition with several class wins and a fastest stage time behind him. He hopes to transfer his speed into the French Countryside.

He added: “I know it won’t be easy to transfer the speed. We need to go at it with a sensible head and look at the overall 208 Cup and development as a whole.”

With a field of 27 Peugeot 208 R2’s on the event Garry will have his work cut out. The rally takes place this Saturday and Sunday, April 4/5, over 120 competitive stage kilometres in Capedenac, north of Toulouse.

Garry’s main sponsors this season are StoveSales.co.uk and Brick and Steel Construction while he is also receiving support from J. Aitchison, Bridged Garage, Duns; S. Lackenby, General Builders, Duns; Putton Mill Fitness Centre, Duns; Waterloo Van Centre, Chirnside; Mill Garage Coachworks, Duns; Monro, Auto Electrics, Galashiels; J.E. Douglas and Sons, Duns.

Meanwhile fellow Duns driver and reigning Scottish Champion Euan Thorburn gets his competitive season off to a start this weekend in the Circuit of Ireland Rally (April 2-4), a round of the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship.

Euan used Sunday’s Midlands Rally to test the tarmac set-up of his Ford Fiesta S2000 and is now looking forward to competing in earnest this Friday.