16 September, 2014
Rob Bell headed back to Malaysia last weekend for the fifth round of the GT Asia Series. The McLaren GT factory driver is piloting the Clearwater Racing McLaren MP4-12C GT alongside Hiroshi Hamaguchi this season and with two top tens at the Sepang circuit, with fourth and seventh place finishes, the duo held on to their lead in the Drivers Championship.
The oppressive heat of Kuala Lumpur was the biggest challenge for the GT Asia Series competitors. Posting 12th quickest lap in first practice, Rob predicted a steamy weekend and so it proved.
The Clearwater Racing car lined up in 14th place for the first race and with the combined skills of Hiroshi and Rob, they persevered in the intense heat and humidity to bring the McLaren MP4-12C home in fourth place. Starting fifth for the second race was a strong position on the grid, but at the start Hiroshi was caught up in an opening lap melee, sustaining damage which had to be repaired in the pitstop. Rob drove well in the secon half of the race, with the pairing securing a seventh place finish.
Rob said of the weekend, “I knew that this would be a tough weekend for us, as it is always so hot and humid, which is always a challenge for both cars and drivers. In the second race the top two spots were cars that started on slicks, which proved to be the best choice. Although the track was wet at the start it was amazing how quickly it dried and most, like us, were disadvantaged by the wet weather tyres.”
“We might not have made the podium, but we did keep our lead. It’s eroded to two points now, with our sister Clearwater Racing car, a Ferrari 458, breathing down our neck now. I’m just looking forward to the next rounds in Shanghai, so we can pull out a bit more of an advantage.”
Rob will return to the GT Asia Series next month with the championship moving to China with the penultimate event in the Series calendar taking place at Shanghai International Circuit from October 10th to 12th.