Simon Pullan & Rollcentre Racing take GTO victory at Croft.
Simon Pullan and his Rollcentre Racing team stormed back onto the winner's rostrum at Croft this weekend despite appalling weather conditions in the final stages of the race.
Qualifying: 2nd in class, 6th overall: 1:21.333
Rollcentre's Martin Short and long time GTO adversary Tim Sugden resumed their qualifying battle as soon as the thirty minute session got underway on Saturday afternoon. The Mole Valley Texaco TVR Tuscan R made its debut at Croft last season and looked to be more than a match for the Porsche 911 this time around. With Short and Sugden posting quick lap after quick lap, the pole position mantle passed between the two drivers for much of the session. With minutes to go, Sugden finally sealed his spot at the head of the GTO class with Short keeping a watching brief just two tenths of a second behind.
Race: 1st in class, 5th overall
The notoriously fickle Croft weather ensured there was excitement even before the lights changed to green on round five. While the majority of the grid opted for full wets, Pullan's TVR Tuscan R was shod with intermediate tyres when the cars took up their allocated slots on the start line. Faced with a rapidly drying track, everyone was forced to change onto slick tyres before the start of the formation lap.
A good getaway from the rolling start and a carefully judged line into the first corner saw Pullan three abreast and fighting for the lead of the GTO class into turn one. Up to second place by the time the trio had funnelled through the fast right hander at Clervaux, the damp track caught the Lincolnshire driver out at turn two when the Texaco TVR Tuscan R lost rear grip and half spun.
Despite the tricky conditions, Pullan dialled straight back into the car and set about regaining the lost places. The Rollcentre charge cut a rapid path through the field in the ensuing laps, regaining track position and claiming the scalp of the GT Lister Storm along the way.
When Pullan peeled into the pits at the end of his stint first in class, he'd fully completed his earlier mission having taken over the GTO lead only moments before. A trouble free driver changeover saw team-mate Short exit the pit lane with' P1' still intact. Although he reported problems with the throttle sticking open, Short fought off the attentions of second placed Lockie/Davies to maintain his advantage at the head of the GTO field. When the heavens opened, the race was red flagged and stopped just three minutes shy of the one hour mark.
"The race started with drama on the grid and ended pretty much the same way due to the terrible weather conditions," Pullan said."We went on to the grid with intermediates but then had to change to slicks along with the rest of the field because the track was beginning to dry out. I'd like to thank Eclipse for lending us their air hose so we could get the car into the air on the grid to actually change the tyres.
"The TVR Tuscan R was amazing again today and I'm sure the fastest GTO car on the track as I was working my way through the traffic towards the end of the stint. After the disappointment of Knockhill two weeks ago, it's nice to get another win in the bag and of course, more points to add to our championship lead."