Nissan GT Academy winner Gaetan Paletou takes overall win

The final race of the contemporary Castle Combe 2014 season was an Open Sports Vs Saloons race at the end of the day, with the sunlight drawing in the grid lined up for their shortened 12 minute race. 2014 European Nissan GT Academy winner Gaetan Paletou was on pole in his works prepared Nissan Team RJN Nissan 370Z GT4 spec racer. Alongside was supposed to be the impressive flame spitting Mazda RX-7 Turbo of Steve Putt, however a problem in the earlier Sports @ GT race left Paletou alone on the front row. Team mate to Paletou Paul Brown was behind him in 3rd whilst Dylan Popovic completed the top 4 in his unique Marlin racer.

At the lights it was Dylan Popovic and the ungainly looking Rage buggy of Craig Moore who made the best starts whilst Paul Brown who had a nightmare and stalled, leaving old circuit favourite Russell Humphrey behind him to inadvertently give him a push start. Craig Moore held the lead in the under powered Rage until Quarry before he overcooked things and went off at the Esses, dropping himself from the lead to the back all on lap 1.

This left the Nissan of Paletou to open a huge lead over earlier Castle Combe Saloons winner Tony Hutchings, who valiantly tried to stay with the GT4 Nissan despite the obvious power and handling disadvantages for Hutchings. Hutchings had earlier stole on 2nd on lap 3 from Adam Prebble in his Rover 220 Turbo, and things soon got worse for Prebble on lap 6 as he was forced to give up a comfortable 3rd as he slowed going up Avon Rise and pulled off into retirement.

By lap 7 Paletou has used his obvious skills and car advantage to open a 16 second lead over Hutchings who was equally comfortable in 2nd, and that gap was further extended when the 3rd man Paul Brown was forced to retire at the end of the lap after receiving mechanical warning flags for noise nuisance. This therefore ended a remarkable recovery drive after the earlier stall on the line. From here until the end of the 12 minute race things were comfortable for the top 6 as Gaetan Paletou romped home for probably his first ever overall race victory, and he will be hard pressed to find a more comfortable one.

Tony Hutchings was also comfortable in 2nd to cap a brilliant end of the season for him after his earlier win, as old circuit favourite Russell Humphrey returned to Combe to complete the podium. Rob Ballard was 4th after his heroics earlier in the Combe Saloons, whilst Nigel Richards was 5th in his powerful BMW E36 M3 and Craig Moore hustled his Rage buggy back into the top 6 after his opening lap off at the Esses.

This race brought the contemporary 2014 Castle Combe season to a close, and once again it was a classic year for the circuit with plenty of action and thrilling races across all the meetings, providing plenty of entertainment for the spectators. The circuit has some promising plans for 2015 including plans for a solar farm in the circuit infield to provide the circuit’s power and some, I for one simply cannot wait for the 2015 season to begin already.

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