20 October, 2008
British driver Rob Bell was at the Zolder Circuit in Belgium this weekend for the penultimate round of the FIA GT Championship. Driving the No.56 Ferrari for the CR Scuderia team, Bell and team mate Andrew Kirkaldy were well placed for victory after securing pole position in qualifying, however a first corner incident in the race put Bell out of contention.
During the build up to the race the No.56 CR Scuderia car showed strong pace and during Saturday qualifying session Bell’s team mate Andrew Kirkaldy took pole position ahead of the race. The pole was Kirkaldy’s second of the 2008 season, bringing his FIA GT pole position tally up to 12, a record for the Championship. After the form shown prior to the race the duo were optimistic of a good result.
Race day saw dry conditions for the start of the two hour race. Bell took the start in a race which would ultimately end a few moments later when the Newcastle-born driver became the victim of an incident at the first turn. As the pack got away from the line, Bell found himself sandwiched between two other cars, and after being hit from the rear, he then collided with another car, ending his race and any chance of victory.
Bell commented after the race, “It was an unfortunate result this weekend, especially with Andrew having secured us pole the day before. We were also strong in testing on long runs, so it was looking good for us for this race. The car was damaged on all four corners after the first turn incident, and I was a bit bruised afterwards, but ultimately the biggest disappointment was not finishing or scoring any points. I believe we were capable of winning from the strategy we had planned and the pace we’d show, especially when I looked at how the race panned out, but you’ve got to be in it to win it as they say.”
“The start was tough, with the melee of cars heading into the first corner, I was three abreast and hit from the rear which really was the catalyst for me then being collected by another car. It was a racing incident and I don’t really see what I could’ve done different. It is extremely disappointing and I hope that we can bounce back at the next round.
“CR Scuderia have been working so hard this season, I’d like to see us finish on the podium at the next round in Argentia. With our lack of points at Zolder it is now unlikely that we’ll finish second in the constructors championship and that counts us out of an automatic Le Mans 24 hours entry, which was one of the aims for the year. We are optimistic that if we have luck on our side we can challenge for victory at the next race, which is important for us as we really want to finish the season on a high.”
Bell and the CR Scuderia team now turn their attention to the final race on the calendar, at the San Luis circuit in Argentina. The race will be Bell’s final round of the season, after a strong season in both the FIA GT championship and the Le Mans Series GT2 category, in which he was crowned champion at the final race in Silverstone.