Rob Bell Wins Class at Nurburgring Le Mans Series Race
1st July 2007
Rob Bell took his first Le Mans Series win this weekend in Germany, at the 1000km of Nurburgring, the third of six rounds of the 2007 Series.
Two weeks after taking the chequered flag at Le Mans 24 Hour race Rob Bell was back out racing, resuming duties with his regular sportscar team, Virgo Motorsport and behind the wheel of the Ferrari 430 GT2 car.
From the opening practice session the pairing of Bell and Allan Simonsen were the top of the leaderboard in GT2. In the second session they posted fourth quickest time and backed this up with second fastest lap in the third practice period. The pace setting team upped the ante for qualifying and took a well deserved pole for today's race. The team has been working hard alongside their tyre manufacturer, Dunlop, to develop this element of the package and the results were evident in the grid setting session, Bell's first pole position in the Le Mans Series.
Newcastle's top racing driver, Bell, said of topping the class in qualifying, "Although we didn't top the time sheets in every practice session, we always felt that we had a little bit in reserve as we were running on full tanks in those sessions. We were pretty confident we could take pole and delighted to start from the front of our class."
Race day was warm and overcast, with Bell buoyed by the team's performance in qualifying and ready for the challenge of the six hours race ahead. Simonsen drove the first stint for the team and quickly settled into a strong pace which kept the Ferrari in the lead of the GT2 class. The Ferrari sports racer ran smoothly and incident free through all six hours of the
race with traffic being the biggest problem for Bell and Simonsen. With both pilots driving flawlessly Virgo Motorsport were nearly a lap ahead of their nearest rivals by the chequered flag. The team's victory tops third and second place finishes in the first two races of the Series.
Bell said at the end of race, "It couldn't be better - pole position, fastest lap of the race, leading the class from start to finish, victory - it was all ours today. It was close out there in many respects, as we only clinched the fastest lap by a few thousandths of a second and took pole by around a tenth of a second, so the pressure was always there. The biggest
problem today was the traffic, which is always the case on a shorter track, but both Allan and I drove consistently, the Virgo crew did a great job and we came home with the win. A great weekend!"
The next round of the Le Mans Series takes place from 17 - 19 August at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.