27 June, 2017
The third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard didn’t produce the result that Rob Bell wanted, with Rob collecting damage from an accident which put the the #58 Strakka Racing McLaren 650S GT3 out of the race.
Rob joined Endurance Cup teammates, Ben Barnicoat and Come Ledogar to share the #58 McLaren in France. The first practice sessions saw the trio well down the order and then 19th fastest in qualifying 1, but fell again in Q2 and despite being the quickest McLaren in qualifying, they were still only 31st quickest in Q3, leaving them on row 16 for the start of the race.
Rob was behind the wheel for the green flag and had a blistering start off the grid making up six places by the end of the first lap. Unfortunately he didn’t have the pace in the car to maintain position or improve, so he was being pushed back down the field. With the cars running close Rob made slight contact with a rival which damaged the floor of the car. He returned to the pits but the repair would have taken too long, forcing the team to retire the #58 car, only halfway through the first stint of the race.
Rob said after the weekend, “That was a tough weekend. We didn’t get any pace into the car and whether that’s tyres, BOP, or something else it’s dififcult to say, but I know Strakka will be putting everything into looking for improvement for our next outing. The next race is the 24 Hours of Spa, and before that we have a test day, so hopefully we can use this to develop the car and be up the front for the big race of the series.
Rob will be back on track for the highlight of the Blancpain calendar, the 24 Hours of Spa. Prior to this, he’ll be racing in the GT Open round at Hungaroring, then running at the official 24 Hours of Spa test day on 4th July.