04 July, 2016
McLaren GT factory driver, Rob Bell celebrated another victory yesterday, this time in the Blancpain Sprint Series, hot on the heels of his win in the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard last weekend. Piloting the Garage 59 #58 McLaren 650S GT3 with fellow McLaren GT factory driver, Alvaro Parente, the duo took a dominant win in yesterday’s main race, after a second place finish in Saturday’s qualifying race at the German Nurburgring circuit.
The Garage 59 team dominated qualifying with Alvaro producing the quickest lap of qualifying to put the #58 car on pole for the qualifying race. The team’s sister McLaren 650S GT3 driven by Come Ledogar and Martin Plowman recorded the second fastest time, although this was later taken away due to a post session technical infringement.
Alvaro took the start in the qualifying race and took the lead from the green flag. He led a chasing pack throughout the first half of the race, able to keep his rivals at bay, but not quick enough to draw out a gap. Handing over the car to Rob for the second half of the race, a delay in the pits dropped the #58 down the order, with Rob exiting the pits in third place.
Rob showed his experience and racing prowess as he quickly moved up to second position and then started to hunt down the race leader. His efforts to close up the gap were slowed by a yellow flag caution period, but with 15 minutes remaining the race returned to full pace and Rob was back on the power. Despite closing on the lead Audi, Rob finally ran out of laps and crossed the line in second place.
In today’s main race, Rob took the start in the #58 McLaren 650S, lining up in second place alongside yesterday’s winning Audi. When the lights went out Rob stormed off the grid and swept into the lead. He settled comfortably at the head of the field, drawing away from the rest of the field and commanding the race from the front.
Alvaro drove the second half of the race and maintained a healthy lead, despite the chasing Audi trying to close in on him. A faultless drive by both Rob and Alvaro produced another win for the Garage 59 team.
Rob said of the weekend, “it was a dominant performance from the Garage 59 team this weekend, with Alvaro and I having two podium visits, which was great and really helped in my Drivers Championship race. It was very nearly a double win weekend, but it wasn’t to be, although we’re knocking on the door of pulling it off, so we’ll try again next time. The car ran really well and the tyres were excellent, so it was a joy to be out racing, and winning.”
Rob returns to racing action with a trip to Spa next weekend, rejoining the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse team for the next round of the British GT Championship.