KELTY race ace Ronan Pearson is ready to "come out fighting" at his "biggest event" of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season next weekend.

The 21-year-old, who is in his debut year in the series, heads for his home circuit at Knockhill on the back of a challenging start to the second half of the campaign at Croft over the weekend.

Hopes were high that the EXCELR8 Motorsport driver could produce a strong showing behind the wheel of his Macklin Motors and Saltire Energy-backed Hyundai at the North Yorkshire venue, particularly on the back of two productive practice sessions.

After putting his car into 13th place on the grid after qualifying for race one, Pearson elected to run the most favoured soft tyre - with drivers forced to use all three compounds on race day - at the first opportunity, in a bid to try and push for a first top 10 finish of the campaign.

Despite losing a place at the start, he was running in 13th when Dan Lloyd ran wide at the 'Sunny' corner, giving Pearson an oppoirtunity to slip up the inside and make up a position.

However, contact as Lloyd rejoined damaged the front suspension on Pearson's car, forcing him into the pits, and ensuring he would end up not classified as a finisher.

A switch to the hard tyre for race two, as he began from the back of the grid, didn't help change his fortunes as a trip off track resulted in another visit to the pits, dropping him off the lead lap to leave him 25th at the finish.

In the final race, running on medium tyres, Pearson rocketed up to 17th after avoiding an incident on lap one, continuing his progress to 14th, but a contact-induced vibration saw him lose pace and slip back to 19th place.

"Having had the summer break to regroup after a hectic start to the year, I was confident about a strong weekend at Croft to kickstart the second half of the season," he said.

"We found time in practice but I knew there was more to come, and the team worked really hard to make improvements to the car ahead of qualifying. When we went out on track, the car was transformed and I was really pleased to secure P13 on the grid as the best of the Jack Sears Trophy drivers, as it set us up well for race day.

"Having decided to run the soft tyre in race one, I was hoping to push forwards towards the top ten but then Dan ran wide and came back on track to take his line when I was already on the inside for the corner - so there was nowhere to go.

"That was frustrating as it meant our soft tyre run was wasted, so we elected to get the hard tyre out of the way in race two. I had a bit of moment that meant I had to pit to have grass removed from the front of the car, and it left us with work to do in the final race.

"On the medium tyre we had really good pace and it looked like we’d be able to score the points finish that I feel we deserved this weekend but again, luck wasn’t on my side and we took a hit that left me with a vibration and it was a case of just nursing the car home.

"It’s been tough but I just need to put this behind me and come out fighting at Knockhill, which is my biggest event of the season by far and one where I really hope to go well in front of the home fans."

Pearson goes into his first Knockhill BTCC round 22nd in the overall drivers' standings, with fellow Fifer, Rory Butcher, in ninth place.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing UK star had a tough start at Croft, placing 25th in race one after qualifying in 18th, before making up seven places in race two.

He concluded the weekend in the points, however, with an eighth place finish, leaving him on a total of 110, 148 adift of leader, Ash Sutton.

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