02 May, 2018
Round 3 of the British GT Championship was a challenging weekend all round for Rob Bell, contesting the series with Shaune Balfe in the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3. Lady luck wasn’t on the team’s side, with a short-lived race for the #101 McLaren after Shaun made contact with the oval’s wall on lap 7.
The Rockingham circuit with its twisty infield and long oval section proved extremely slippery in difficult wet conditions for practice and qualifying. However Rob and Shaun had a good car and were comfortably in the top ten for the first two practice sessions, finishing sixth overall.
It was wet for afternoon qualifying and with tricky conditions Shaun put in a good performance to finish sixth fastest of his group, the GT3 AMs. Up next was the GT3 PRO drivers and Rob was also strong, finishing fourth quickest. With the race start taken as an average of the two times, it was a sixth place start for the duo for the race.
Morning warm up on race day was slightly warmer and dry, with Shaun behind the wheel posting fifth fastest time. He then took the start for the race and from sixth on the grid moved up to fifth by the end of the first lap. Four laps later and he passed the #24 car to take fourth place. As Shaun came through the last corner on to the oval section he was unlucky to clip a lapped GT4 car which pitched him into the wall of the oval and ended his race.
Rob said afterwards, “Shaun was really unlucky to have an accident and it was a rare, small, mistake that had big consequences. It’s just one of those things that happen. Nine times out of ten you’ll get away with a minor mistake, but sometimes you don’t and Rockingham was just one of these times. It was a shame that the weekend finished with this, as we’d been running well and the car had a good pace. It’s disappointing for me not to have a chance to race, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We’ll put this behind us and be all out for a strong performance in Snetterton.”
The fourth round of the British GT Championship takes place at Snetterton race circuit, Norfolk, from 26th– 27th May.