The Gineta GT5 Challenge two female drivers, Katie Milner and Abbi Pulling were both in action last weekend as the championship supported the BTCC at Thruxton in Hampshire. Both drivers were hopeful of good weekends. Milner has always gone well there and Pulling had a strong test there not long before the weekend.
With there being no Friday running at this event, (hence the recent test session) it was straight into qualifying. Milner was instantly quick initially posting the fourth fastest time with Pulling in seventh. The times kept tumbling as the session went on and Milner set a couple of storming laps giving her not only pole but also pole for the Sunday race as her second best time was also faster than anyone else. Pulling was also on course for a top ten grid position but she was held up on her flying laps dropping her to fifteenth for race 1 and eleventh for race two.
Milner was overjoyed at her pole and a little surprised. “I’m not sure how that happened, I didn’t feel like I was that fast!”
Pulling was disappointed at being held up. “I would have been much higher up the grid but I was held up on both my fastest laps.”
One race would be held later that day with the second on Sunday.
Milner got a great start as the lights went out for race one but Pulling was slightly slow away due to her inexperience with it being only her second race meeting in the car. Going into the second corner Pulling was already fighting back while up ahead Milner found herself under attack from second.
With the chasing pack being so close behind Milner she found herself in a bit of a chain reaction, unsettled from one car passing, it reduced her pace enough to let another through. With the car now suffering from oversteer she had to fight to hold on to her place. She dropped to sixth but managed to defend from losing anymore and started to fight back to try and get fifth. Meanwhile Pulling was fighting back up the field taking back places she’d list at the start. Milner eventually crossed the line in sixth, Pulling in fifteenth where she had started. Both drivers were disappointed and were looking to do better in Sunday’s race which would be shown live on ITV4.
Race two initially looked set to be a great race for both drivers. Pulling got an amazing start and was slicing into the top ten from her eleventh place starting position. Milner got into a battle with the rest of the top five but looked set for a great result.
Things went wrong for Milner first after a rival sent her into a spin, dropping her down the order towards the tail of the field. She eventually fought back to eleventh, just outside the top ten.
Pulling had been having a great race before she had a run in with a rival at the complex in the closing stages. The impact broke her steering, sending her off the track and into retirement.
Both drivers had shown great pace over the weekend but were left with little to show for it. They will both be hoping for better luck at Silverstone in June. By Marc Waller