Win & Podium for Rob Bell at Silverstone GT Open Weekend
9th September 2017
Rob and team mate Shaun Balfe, driving the Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3 put in two strong races to take two class podiums and retain the lead of the PRO AM Championship at Silverstone this weekend.
The opening practice sessions saw the team prepare for the qualifying session and race set up, with the #22 car pounding the Silverstone track to rack up the mileage. Rob was selected to drive in the first qualifying session and put in a strong effort to be fifth overall and second in the PRO AM Class.
Lining up on the third row of the grid for the start with Rob behind the wheel, it was a tight battle to the first corner with the #22 car dropping a place to the #65 BMW in the melee. Over the course of the next ten laps the two cars fought for position with the McLaren getting the upper hand on lap 12 to move back into fifth. Pitting from this position at mid-distance, a quick turn around from the Balfe Motorsport crew had Shaun and the McLaren back out on track in fifth place. The next car in the sights of Shaun was the #20 Mercedes and after just a few laps Shaun had stolen fourth place and taken the lead in the PRO AM Class, staying in this position until the chequered flag.
Shaun took his turn for qualifying for the second race putting in a solid effort to be sixth fastest in the PRO AM Class, 20th overall. With a success handicap of an extra 10 seconds in the pit lane, the team knew it was going to be a tough race. Shaun took the start and maintained position throughout his stint. Rob took over the drive for the second half of the race and was able to make inroads into the field, gradually picking off rivals around him, moving up from 20th place to 13th position in the space of ten laps, taking the chequered flag in third place for the PRO AM Class.
After the 10 races of the season so far Rob and Shaun lie first in the PRO AM Class championship and joint 8th in the overall Drivers Championship. Balfe Motorsport lie 7th overall in the Teams Championship.
Rob said of the weekend, “It’s been another strong weekend for Shaun and myself, with some good Class results that have kept us in the lead of the championship, so you can’t get better than that. Everyone worked really hard and pulled together to put in the best possible performance and I’ve really enjoyed working with the Balfe Motorsport guys and having some great racing at the home race. There’s another four races to go yet, so we’ll need to keep pushing to stay ahead of the competition, but I know everyone will keep battling.”
Rob returns to the racetrack next weekend with the final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series in Nurburgring, Germany on 15 to 15 September.