19 September, 2017
- Win and second-place for Bell wraps up runner-up position in championship
- Bell presented with “Sunoco Fastest PRO Driver of the Weekend” award
Matt Bell ended his Henderson Insurance Brokers LMP3 Cup Championship season on a high note at the weekend with a win and second-place finish in the Donington Park finale, confirming his runner-up position in the title standings.
The British racer had one of his best races of the season on Saturday after co-driver Tony Wells qualified the No. 3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 in third place.
Wells held onto third at the start as the top three cars began to pull away from the rest of the field, handing the car over to Bell midway through the race after a very quick pit stop from the United Autosports crew.
Bell soon found himself in a tough battle for the top three positions but managed to make his way past his rivals with great overtakes at the Melbourne and Goddards Hairpins.
“We had really good pace and the car was absolutely perfect,” he said. “We just kept our heads down, cracked on and ended up with the win.”
Eager to repeat their success on Sunday, Wells went out on track to qualify for Race 2 aiming for a traffic-free run so that he could make an attempt at pole position. An unexpected rain shower after just one flying lap denied him that chance and he took third place on the grid. The qualifying weather was a warning of the torrential rain to come for Race 2.
“It was a race of survival more than anything else,” said Bell. “In conditions like that all that matters is staying on the track and collecting as many positions as you can. We just didn’t have the pace in the wet so we had to rely on others’ mistakes. If it had been dry again, I’m sure we would have had a good shot at a double win.”
A strong weekend at Donington allowed Bell and Wells to close up the championship points deficit and seal the runner-up spot.
“It's been a great series, we've really enjoyed it, and it's been very competitive up at the front. As always, United Autosports gave us the car to fight at the front and that’s all we ever ask for. It has been a superb team performance in 2017 and a pleasure to drive alongside Tony. Long may that continue!”
While the LMP3 Cup series might be over for the season, Bell still has two rounds of the Michelin Le Mans Cup remaining, which gets back underway this coming weekend (September 23) at Spa-Francorchamps.
“It's one of my favourite circuits in the world and I absolutely love going back there,” he said. “We did a two-day test there about a few weeks ago so we're feeling as prepared as we have been for any of the Michelin Le Mans Cup races.