Pullan & Short second in class at Castle Combe.
Lincolnshire's leading sportscar driver, Simon Pullan and his Rollcentre Racing teammate Martin Short stormed to their sixth podium position of the season at Castle Combe on Sunday, taking second place in the GTO class of the British GT Championship.
Qualifying: 2nd in class, 6th overall: 1:05.273
As has become the norm in GTO qualifying, all eyes were on the battle for pole position being played out between Rollcentre Racing's Xavex Texaco TVR Tuscan R and Tim Sugden's EMKA Porsche 911 on Saturday. Despite a last gasp effort from Short in the final minutes of the session, Sugden just pipped him to pole position with a quick lap of 1:05.130.
Race: 2nd in class, 4th overall
A dramatic race began with Pullan darting past Sugden for the GTO class lead. Determined not to be outdone, the pole sitter reversed the order as the cars reached Quarry corner for the first time.
With the pack closely bunched heading into the Esses on the opening tour, Pullan fell foul of the jostling for position going on behind him when fellow TVR Tuscan R runner, Shane Lynch tapped the Rollcentre car into a spin. With Lynch himself having received a knock, the running order was overturned and Pullan demoted to the tail end of the grid.
Rejoining the circuit, Pullan set about fighting his way back through the overall classification. His recovery was halted early on however by a lengthy safety car period, brought out at the beginning of the second lap after a horrific accident involving the Kinch/Lister Saleen GT and Croydon/Littlejohn Porsche GT2.
Despite regaining a couple of places when the Safety Car returned to the pits, the challenging Castle Combe circuit with its bumpy surface and minimal runoff areas worked against Pullan when he came across a slower car. Unable to pass and losing ground to his rivals, the 19-year-old was called into the pits for an early stop in order to create 'clear air' for the second half of the race.
Although Sugden also pitted at the same time, the Rollcentre squad's lightening driver change allowed Short to leapfrog the Porsche in the pit lane. With the Xavex Texaco TVR now leading the GTO class, a monumental battle for race honours eventually saw Sugden slip past Short in the final stages of the race to claim the win.
With closest championship rivals Calum Lockie/Jamie Davies retiring on lap twenty-six and the Jones Twins' Porsche limping home eighth in class after two punctures, Pullan and Short continue to lead the GTO point standings.
"It was always going to be difficult for us to beat Tim Sugden driving on his own and we came very close but second place is great for us with regard to the championship," Pullan said. "With the Veloqx Ferrari not finishing our championship lead has now been extended but there is now way we can relax. They will be stronger than ever at Rockingham but we will be ready."