Rob Bell Maintains Record for Podium at Every Race in Brazil
12th November 2007
Rob Bell finished his Le Mans Series season with an unblemished record of finishing every race this season on the podium of the GT2 class, with a third place in the JMB Ferrari 430. The Formula One venue of Interlagos in Brazil hosted the final round of the championship at which Bell also consolidated his GT2 Drivers Championship title.
Bell was given the opportunity to race with JMB for this weekend’s event, teaming up with Ben Aucott and Philipp Peter in one of the three entries for the team. Virgo Motorsport team mate Allan Simonsen, who missed the Silverstone round and seemingly gave up joint-victory of the drivers championship, also travelled to South America, with hopes of joining Bell in taking the drivers title. Driving the JWA Porsche he was in prime position for a class win, but a mechanical problem sidelined the car and handed sole title honours to Bell and he could finally celebrate his achievement
The Brazilian round of the Le Mans Series, the sixth and final event of 2007, featured 14 entries, and with the 1000 mile distance was a nine hour endurance test, for the Bell/Aucott/Peter trio driving the No.99 entry. The teammates posted fourth quickest lap in the opening practice session and eighth in the second session. Bell qualified the car, turning second fastest lap in the GT2 car and 11th quickest time overall, a strong start for the young British driver.
In the race Peter took the steering wheel for the start. The No.99 car dropped a couple of places in the opening hour, but fought back to third place as the race progressed. It was a track that suited the GT2 Porsche over the Ferrari and Bell took the fight to his Italian rivals, with one of the JMB sister cars ahead in second. As the hours ticked through and darkness fell the team were unable to catch their rival JMB entry, despite Bell posting the fastest GT2 lap of the race after five and a hours of racing. The team crossed the line a creditable third in class and for the sixth time Bell stood on the Le Mans Series GT2 podium to maintain his perfect podium record.
He said after the weekend, “It was quite a weekend for me in Brazil. When Allan didn’t join me in the car at Silverstone it was a shame for him, but I thought I had wrapped up that title. I arrived in Brazil and found myself not actually having clinched it outright. We had a joke about it before we raced, but in the end I could rest easy about halfway through! A podium from every race this year has given me a few more trophies to clean, but that’s very welcome. It’s also shown how important it is to be consistent, that’s how I ended up with the driver’s title.
“I’m pleased to have got fastest lap and helping to bring JMB one of their two podiums in Brazil this weekend - I hope it made the long trip to South America worthwhile for the team. I thoroughly enjoyed driving this track and experiencing the Brazilian F1 venue – another new circuit to add to my list!”
Bell will take a well-deserved winter break now and hopes to announce his plans for 2008 as soon as they are finalised.