04 June, 2012
Rob Bell recorded his first finish of the season in the second round of the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone in Northamptonshire held this weekend and Bell was greatly encouraged by the pace and performance shown.
In adverse weather conditions which were eerily reminiscent of the series' opening round at Monza in Italy just over a month ago, Bell was forced to start the race behind a safety car due to the amount of standing water around the famous Grand Prix track. Merseyside-based driver, Bell, qualified the No. 9 Gulf Oil International liveried McLaren fourth on the grid and made a great start once the safety car was withdrawn, setting extremely competitive lap times. Pitting just under the one hour mark, in third place, the McLaren GT driver handed over to Mike Wainwright who had to endure increasingly greasy track conditions as the rain stopped.
Bell said afterwards: "I was pleased to be able to show the pace of the car today although we're not spraying champagne yet. We demonstrated that we've made several big steps forward since Monza and we can run very competitively and at the sharp end. Despite the conditions, I quite enjoyed today. It was bad initially for the first three or four laps as there was so much standing water and once the rain stopped the track was just greasy which made it hard for everyone.
"Our car seems to struggle with that type of track condition so we need to put our thinking caps on a bit more about what to do for the future. Mike did a great job in the circumstances and was thrown in at the deep end again; it was hard for a pro driver today, let alone someone who doesn't do this for a living."
Bell's next race in the Blancpain Endurance Series will be at the HTTT Paul Ricard track in the South of France on 1st July.