Rob Bell Celebrates Second Place in Velencia with Ferrari
6th May 2007
The second round of the Le Mans Series was held this weekend in Valencia, Spain with Rob Bell competing in the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari 430 GT2 racer with Allan Simonsen, and the duo bringing the car home in second place of the GT2 class, the best result so far this season, and the fastest Ferrari 430 finisher in class.
The Newcastle racer and his team mate were straight on the pace at the four kilometre Spanish circuit finishing seventh in the opening practice session. With second and fourth fastest times in the GT2 class for the second and third practices, the duo took this front running pace through to qualifying with fourth quickest lap in the session. Their potential was also evident in warm up with the Virgo Motorsport car turning the fastest lap this morning.
The six hour race was full of action and the Virgo entry was in the thick of it. From the fifth place start Bell raced the first stint. The endurance style event determines that the drivers need to turn consistent laps without taking unnecessary risks and Bell took this approach. Unconcerned when the car dropped to sixth place in the early stages, the Virgo pilot was able to reclaim the position as the race progressed. Moving into fourth with steady driving, the team finally moved into a podium finishing place by around half distance.
The GT2 class was one of the most competitive within the race and for the final half of the race the Virgo Ferrari was being chased hard by a rival Ferrari and with different pitstop strategies they traded third and fourth positions, but Bell and Simonsen upped the pace and gradually pulled away from their opposition. Two Porsche 997s were in the top two podium slots in
the latter stages, but a lengthy pitstop by the second placed car elevated Virgo Motorsport to second, a position the British car kept until the chequered flag.
Bell said of his Valencia outing, "It's a great result for us here in Valencia. It's not been an easy weekend as we've struggled to find the right setup. The circuit seems to favour the Porsche, and they qualified 1-2-3, so we thought that it was a bit of a long shot to better our Monza result. As it turns out we had the pace in race trim and the reliability to get through the six hours of hard racing. It was touch and go at the end, as we were light on fuel so we had to slow down enough to make it to the chequered flag without losing position. I think we're leading the GT2 class in the overall championship, which is a great result. Third in Monza, second today, first in Nurburgring? That's the goal now!"
Bell returns to the UK for a few weeks, preparing for his next sportscar outing, testing for Le Mans 24 hours race with Team LNT at the famed Le Sartre circuit on June 3. A rigorous fitness development programme is the focus for the 28-year-old in the lead up to the 24 hour event, one of the most gruelling endurance races in motorsport.