Challenging Moscow Weekend for Rob Bell in Blancpain Sprint Series
6th July 2015
The Moscow Raceway located approximately 80 kilometres to the northwest of the Russian capital hosted the fourth round of the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series last weekend. Rob and his team mate, Kevin Estre, driving the McLaren 650S GT3 car with Attempto Racing qualified the car in fourth place, finished sixth in the first race and ninth in the second race.
The duo of McLaren factory drivers enjoyed their first visit to the Russian capital, making a quick pitstop in Red Square for scrutineering and sightseeing before getting on to the serious business of racing.
The Moscow track was a new venue for the series and the team as well as Rob and Kevin, adding to the challenge of the weekend. After two practice sessions on Friday it was straight into a jam-packed day on Saturday with a morning qualifying session and two races.
Rob took to the track for the first qualifying session, putting the car second in his group. Kevin then took over the wheel and recorded fourth quickest time, securing a second row grid slot for the first race.
Kevin had a good start and was up to third place put as the race settled he began to struggle with tyres and dropped back down the order. He pitted to hand over to Rob and the Lancashire-based driver was lying in sixth after the field had completed their stops. Rob settled into a strong pace, finally crossing the line in sixth.
Rob then took the start for the second race from his sixth place finish position, but was unlucky with congestion off the line. He had to take evasive action from a spinning Lamborghini ahead, slamming on the brakes to avoid contact, and although his quick actions left the McLaren 650S unscathed Rob had dropped to the back of the field. Undaunted Rob put his foot down and worked his way up to 11th place before handing over to Kevin. His team mate then brought the car home in ninth place.
Rob said after the weekend, “It was disappointing not to have been up on the podium this weekend, but it didn’t come together for us in Moscow. I’m always out there to win, so anything less is disappointing for me, but it wasn’t our weekend, so we’ll move on to the next event and learn from this one.
“With such a hectic schedule I have little time to reflect on it, “ adds Rob. “It’s off to Spa 24 Hours with Von Ryan Racing for me now and I’m really looking forward to it. I love these ultimate endurance tests and although they are exhausting, they’re exhilarating at the same time. I hope I’ll have better fortunes in Belgium.”
The Spa 24 Hours race event, round four of the Blancpain Endurance Series runs from 21 – 26 July.