Pullan & Short second at Thruxton.
British GTO title contenders Simon Pullan and Martin Short clinched a fighting second place in the penultimate round of the BRDC British GT Championship at Thruxton today, despite starting the weekend on the back foot after being forced to miss official testing at the venue two weeks ago.
QUALIFYING: 4th in class, 10th overall: 1:14.687
With no prior track time in the Texaco Xavex TVR Tuscan R at Thruxton, the Rollcentre Racing crew arrived at the circuit on Friday with a provisional set-up for the weekend. With few adjustments, Short slotted in a trademark one-shot hot lap in Saturday qualifying, placing the car on the second row of the grid.
"Although we missed the official test, we came prepared with a good set-up based on estimations of the car's performance at this circuit," Pullan explains. "Martin had a great lap to qualify the car in fourth position in GTO, meaning the tyres will be in a premium condition for tomorrow's race."
RACE: 2nd in class, 6th overall
Lining up for what would be his first ever race at Thruxton, Pullan powered the TVR Tuscan R cleanly off the line at the lights but chose the wrong way to go around the second and third placed cars, boxing himself in position on the outside line as the field headed towards turn one.
With a top points finish the main priority for the weekend, Pullan set about working his way to the front of the leading train of GTO class runners. Aided by a coming together directly in-front of him, the teenager then deposed a second TVR Tuscan R to move up to second in class.
Although Ferrari runner Tim Mullen was able to build a healthy lead at the head of GTO in the early stages of the race, he was hotly pursued by Pullan as the pit stop window opened. A series of quick lap times saw Mullen pegged back to an eight second break, reduced to almost half that when he pitted for an early driver changeover.
With Pullan staying out for a longer first stint, the TVR Tuscan R gained further ground on the breakaway Ferrari. A quick in lap, combined with an ultra-quick stop, saw Short out with just four seconds between him and the GTO leader.
A tense second half was aggravated by slight over steer and a flapping driver's door, both of which had a marginal affect on Short's lap times. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to close down on the Ferrari. While Short took second place in GTO at the flag, championship leader Tim Sugden came home fifth, leaving Pullan and Short just four points adrift in the title race with one round remaining.
"Second is a great result considering we hadn't run here previously," Pullan said after the race. "It was important to finish on the podium today in order to gain as many points as possible ahead of the championship decider next weekend.
"There are still three contenders for the title so this year's series is going to go right down to the wire at Donington Park. It should be a great season finale for both fans and competitors."
The final round of the 2002 BRDC British GT Championship takes place at Donington Park, 20/21/22 September.