Pull debuts with a double podium at Monza
Teaming up with Bonaldi Motorsport, the 18-year-old who made his first foray into GT racing earlier this year with phenomenal success, continued his triumphant run with two 2nd place finishes. Competing against a 48 car strong field, together with his teammate, the young rookie proved his worth in only his first outing at the historic Italian track.
James and Kelvin qualified the Lamborghini Huracan Evo in 3rd and 7th in the two qualifying sessions, setting up the number 3 Bonaldi car for a serious challenge.
“It was a challenge trying to get used to that many cars on track so to qualify 3rd and 7th was great. It was my first time at Monza and I didn't get many laps in during the free practice sessions"
In the first of the six double rounds, consisting of two 50-minute races, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe championship roared into action on Saturday afternoon. James eagerly waited in the wings as teammate Kelvin pulled the #3 car to 2nd place in an excellent opening stint. With a mandatory driver change, James took over the car and made great progress in the chase for the lead. When the leading car slowed as they began the final lap, taking the lead, James expertly held off the challenge from behind. With the race clock time at zero, the chequered flag and a debut win in sight, the race offered up a heartbreaking twist for the two teammates, as James slowed over the line, allowing the car behind to pass. Falling foul of a small technical malfunction, the pair narrowly missed out on victory by a mere 0.098s margin, reported as the smallest winning margin in the ten year history of Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship. Settling for a hard-fought 2nd place, the pair were keen to replicate their success on Sunday.
“Kelvin did a great job in the first stint, getting us up to 2nd. We lost a bit of time in the pit stop, but the timing of the safety car helped us not to lose too much and I’m pleased as my pace was really good in the race. We were so close, so to lose the win at the line was heartbreaking, but 2nd was an extremely good result for us”
On Sunday afternoon, James took the start, holding his ground the talented racer pushed his way through to P6 by Lap 2. In a true showcase of teamwork, the team pulled off a fantastic pit stop, for Kelvin to return to the track in P3, James’ determined efforts allowing his teammate a real shot at catching the cars ahead. Making the move, the #3 car crossed the line to take another 2nd place finish.
Fresh from his glittering European debut, James spoke of his achievements:
“I’ve always wanted to be on the podium at Monza, growing up watching drivers celebrate in F1, it became a dream of mine, so it felt amazing to finally get up there!”
The sensational start to his European season gives James great confidence for the season ahead:
“The grid is so strong and going into the weekend I knew it’d be tough battling against the best of the best. But our pace was great and I felt like I did a good job. I have to thank the team, they did a fantastic job all weekend and my teammate Kelvin especially, I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season together.”
With the teammates proving to be the most consistent pairing across the weekend, taking two deserved places on the rostrum. The next round of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe moves to Silverstone on 19-20th May, where James hopes to claim victory in front of his home crowd.