Strong Showing in Gulf Racing UK McLaren GT3 at Paul Ricard
9th July 2012
Rob Bell, racing in Gulf Racing UK's No.9 McLaren MP4-12C GT3, recorded the highest finish of the season so far for the team in the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series at the HTTT Paul Ricard track in the South of France last week.
Rob and team mate, Mike Wainwright, were unlucky to finish just outside the top 20 in the 54-strong field, but their 21st place finish was an excellent result considering their starting position of 47th. Suffering from boost pressure problems in qualifying, which left them severely down on power, Rob was frustrated not to have been able to replicate the quick pace and strong performance shown in practice and pre-qualifying, when he had been the quickest McLaren on track.
Rob made a fantastic start and charged through more than three quarters of the field to reach fourth place in the ever-competitive field during his one-hour stint. His decisive and assertive drive set the Gulf Racing UK team up for their highest place finish.
"I really enjoyed the race today, "said Rob. "We were putting in some very competitive times in the practice sessions and it was a really good start to the weekend. Qualifying wasn't quite the same story with the boost pressure problems, but it was still a very promising session.
"It was the first dry race of the year which was a bonus, although of course, it was then very hot which presents another challenge as I needed to try and keep cool as the heat was pretty intense. I had an excellent start and was able to pass plenty of cars in the early stages, getting as far as fourth on the road, second in class at one point. We dropped back after the safety car, having pitted out of sequence, but all in all I really enjoyed my drive. Mike (Wainwright) was really consistent with his pace and put in a solid stint; we're making good progress with the car and Gulf Racing are putting in an excellent effort."
Rob's next race in the Blancpain Endurance Series will be the Spa 24 Hours on 28/29th July in Belgium.