After finishing second in his semi-final, the two-time World Champion was locked in a tight battle in the final, eventually crossing the line third behind winner Nikolay Olyunin of Russia and Pierre Vaultier of France.
Pullin was pleased with his performance.
“I feel good about today; of course I would have liked to win, but third is okay,” Pullin said. "I look forward to another shot at it in the second race on Sunday."
In the women’s race, fellow OWIA/NSWIS athlete Belle Brockhoff also reached the final, but an error during the race saw her having to settle for sixth place.
Jarryd Hughes finished in 15th place after making it through to the quarter finals, while NSWIS rider Matthew Thomas finished 44th.
IMAGE: Alex "Chumpy" Pullin (right) celebrates on the podium © FIS/Oliver Kraus