MEDIA RELEASE 26 October 2011: Pearson survives weekend of dramas to take out 2011 title

Bob Pearson has survived a weekend of fierce rivalry and a race retirement to claim the 2011 NSW Production Touring Car Championship presented by Pollicina Motorsports and Wicked Energy Drinks.

Having led the championship by only a single point from Tony Virag going into the weekend, Pearson needed to finish every race and accumulate enough points to maintain the status quo from his major threat. However, the fight for the crown was not destined to be easy.

The weekend saw the return of 2009 champion Jim Pollicina in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX and former series regular Anton Metchler in his Evo VIII example and the pair were right on the pace with the vastly experienced Pearson all weekend, proving you don’t necessarily need a current spec Evo Lancer to stay competitive.

Easily setting the pace in qualifying to grab pole position for race one, Pearson drew first blood from Pollicina and Metchler to lead the first race from start to finish and further consolidate his grip on the championship trophy. By race two on Sunday morning, it was Pollicina who quickly turned the tables and grabbed the race lead early on the first lap from Pearson and Metchler. Not even a Safety Car period to retrieve the stricken HSV VX Clubsport of Paul Lane could stop Pollicina from taking his first race win since Round Three last year.

By the final race, Pearson had opened the point’s gap to 13 points from Virag and needed to finish to claim the championship proper. Virag needed to finish no lower than second and for Pearson to retire to snatch the championship and for a brief period, it looked like he had a tremendous chance to do so. Pearson had retired from the final race with turbo boost issues and opened the door for Virag to take that chance. But Virag had struggled with pace all weekend and couldn’t advance any further.
Pearson’s championship win was the first for Mitsubishi in the category and broke the almost half decade domination by HSV. Virag would finish a gallant four points behind the championship winner, with Class B frontrunner Paul Loiacono stunning quite a few people by claiming third outright in the championship.

Despite being one of seven drivers vying for the championship and had lucked out after race one, Loiacono’s three class wins from the weekend not only netted him Class B honours and third outright on 150 points but it also handed him the Club Championship on 110 points, nine clear of Virag on 102 and Chris Reeves on 101.

A full report from the final round of the 2011 NSW Production Touring Car Championship will be available from the NSW Production Touring Cars website.

Race One Results: http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?23/10/2011.ECNT.R11
Race Two Results: http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?23/10/2011.ECNT.R19
Race Three Results:http://www.natsoft.com.au/cgi-bin/results.cgi?23/10/2011.ECNT.R28

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