Simon Pullan in race drama at Oulton Park.
British GT ace Simon Pullan escaped injury at Oulton Park on Sunday in round nine of the BRDC British GT Championship after crashing heavily at Knickerbrook on lap five of the race.
Qualifying: 3rd in class, 11th overall: 1:39.623
Although the Xavex Texaco TVR Tuscan R was not ideally suited to the undulating Oulton Park International lay-out, Martin Short turned in a trademark one shot wonder in Saturday qualifying, posting a quick lap on new tyres to secure third in class and eleventh overall.
"We're pleased with third in GTO for tomorrow's race despite the apparent lack of performance at this circuit," Pullan commented. "Martin really made the most of the new tyres. He hooked a great lap up as usual to push us clear of the Shane Lynch/ Ben McLoughlin Tuscan R."
Beginning on a wet track and ending with a much depleted field two hours later, there was drama from the off in Sunday's round nine. Although initially several metres away from the cars surrounding him on the grid, Rollcentre starter Pullan was soon in the thick of the action as the thirty-strong field made its way towards turn one on the inaugural tour.
Defending his line through Knickerbrook, Pullan took to the inside of the bend and was joined by the quick starting Veloqx Motorsport Ferrari piloted by former champion, Calum Lockie. With Lockie selecting the outside line, the Ferrari clattered into the Rollcentre car on the run through the chicane. Although both parties were able to continue unchecked towards Clay Hill, further contact at Druids damaged the rear diffuser and crippled the drive for the differential and gear box pump on the Tuscan R and saw the Ferrari spinning off the track.
Hindered by loose bodywork rubbing on the rear wheel and alerted to the differential problem in the cockpit, Pullan persisted to lap the 2.7-mile circuit while the flailing bodywork worked itself free.
Making up a couple of lost places, the 19-year-old Potterhanworth resident was sitting second in GTO when a light rain began to fall on lap four. By lap five the conditions had deteriorated dramatically and Pullan was told to make his way to the pits for full wet weather tyres. However, he dramatically lost control on the 'in lap' when the torrent running down the circuit from Hill Top towards Knickerbrook took away both his steering and braking capabilities.
With the escape road already filled by stationary cars, the TVR Tuscan R spun on the greasy surface, hitting a Viper and Ferrari before pitching into the armco barrier at the outside of the chicane.
"The track was awash with water at Hill Top. My Rollcentre race engineer came on the radio to tell me to slow down and make my way back to the pits for wets so I eased off the throttle and touched the brakes but there was nothing there," Pullan explained. "I then lost the steering and aquaplaned all the way down the hill towards Knickerbrook. I'd planned to use the escape road at the bottom to scrub off some speed but several cars had already been forced to park up and there was nowhere for me to go.
"I looked for a gap in the traffic to try and go back across the circuit but as soon as I touched the steering wheel the car spun out of control. I hit the blue Viper and a Ferrari before crashing into the barriers.
"Physically I am fine but the car is a mess. The right rear corner is completely destroyed and the driver door was ripped off in the crash."
The race was red-flagged and then re-started and ran over a half hour distance later in the afternoon. Pullan and Short's GTO Championship rival Tim Sugden took second in the shortened race, moving him to second in the overall point standings, while PK Sport's Porsche pairing Piers Masarati and Robin Liddell charged to class victory in their first British GT outing of the year.