06 October, 2009
Rob Bell was back out on track in the FIA GT Championship this weekend, driving for the CRS Racing team alongside Andrew Kirkaldy, in the sixth round of the Series. An errant wheelnut during one of the team’s pitstops shaped the outcome of the race for Bell and his team mate, with a final position of ninth place resulting from a tough race at this penultimate round of the season.
Kirkaldy drove during Saturday’s qualifying session at the French Circuit, where he placed the car ninth on the grid for Sunday’s two hour race. Bell started the race in the CRS Ferrari F430 and after a solid first stint he pitted to hand over to Kirkaldy 35 minutes into the race. The team opted to stay on the same tyres, ensuring a quicker stop, and bringing them out in an eventual fifth place.
As Kirkaldy returned to the pits after his first and only stint to hand the car back to Bell, the team had an issue with the front left wheel. A sticking wheel nut cost them just over two minutes during the pit stop, dropping them right down the field. The CRS car finished the race in an eventual 9th place.
Bell added after the race, “We struggled a little in qualifying but we were relatively quick in the race, especially when you look at the ballast we are running for having two pro drivers in the car. This does make it more difficult to overtake though, so when you drop back it’s harder to get back through the field. With that in mind our strategy for the race was to try and run in clear air as much as possible, which is why we opted not to change the tyres in the first stop. This was working out well and I feel we could have potentially scored a podium if we hadn’t have had the issues in the second stop.
“It has been another frustrating weekend for us really. We were once again running in a strong position during the race when we suffered misfortune and missed out on a good result. You can always reflect on what might have been and say maybe we could have been on the podium without the problem, after all, we were running ahead of the Porsche that went on to finish second. However that’s racing, we have to look at the positives and move on to the next race and focus on the result we can achieve there.
Bell will return to the track for the final round of the 2009 FIA GT series at the Zolder circuit in Belgium on the 25th October.