20 May, 2009
Rob Bell had an uncharacteristic weekend at the second round of FIA GT with a seventh place in Adria, Italy. After a strong podium at the opening round at Silverstone a few weeks ago, Bell and team mate Andrew Kirkaldy driving for CRS Racing in the GT2 category of the championship struggled with a lack of pace in the car all weekend, leaving the duo salvaging few points from the weekend.
After a frustrating qualifying session the No.56 Ferrari F430 was ninth on the grid for the GT2 race. Kirkaldy was selected to start the endurance event and was quick off the line, moving up to fifth place. Fighting a car with understeer, Kirkaldy’s battle was to stay on track while also pushing hard. He was unfortunate to be tipped into a spin in the early stages while wrestling with the Ferrari, but he was quick to recover and was back chasing down the pack.
As night fell at the Italian track, Bell was out for the middle section of the race. The British driver continued on from Kirkaldy’s efforts, gradually moving back up the order. After 96 laps of tough racing the No.56 car had moved up to seventh taking the chequered flag for some hard fought championship points.
Bell reflected on the weekend, “It was a challenging race weekend for us because we struggled to find an answer to the issues with the car and we’ve still come away scratching our heads. There is something lacking as we had a good race here last year, so we know we can be up at the front. Our fortunes were definitely reversed this year.
“We will now go away as a team, review the data, debrief and work through this. We are not racing to be in the second half of the top ten, we are racing to win, so we need to put our efforts into getting back to the top. Hopefully by the next round in Germany we will be back to our podium finishing ways. It is clear that the Porsches are quick and we were lacking in comparison to the AF Corse Ferrari’s this weekend, but I feel confident we can improve.”
The next round of the FIA GT Championship takes place at Oschersleben in Germany on 20/21 June and prior to this the CRS team will be out testing in preparation for the event. Bell will be back in racing action on 13/14th June for the historic Le Mans 24 hour race where he will be aiming for victory in the GT2 category.