First Round Podium for Rob Bell in FIA GT Championship
21st April 2008
Rob Bell’s first race weekend with CR Scuderia produced a podium finish, with the British sportscar racer and his team mate Andrew Kirkaldy taking second place in their Ferrari 403 GT2 race car at the first round of the 2008 FIA GT Championship held at Silverstone circuit in the UK.
The lead up to race day had shown that the Bell/Kirkaldy duo were going to be one of the front-runners. Topping the time sheets in testing and practice, then taking pole position for the GT2 class on Saturday gave the team high expectations for the season opener, a home race for Bell.
Bell drove the first stint of the race, with the British weather predictably playing a leading role in the proceedings. A wet track demanded that all the teams started on wet tyres, and the CR Scuderia team put on the hard treaded Michelins for their first outing. Bell began the race strongly, but the rival AF Corse Ferrari team had opted for softer Michelin rubber and quickly built up a 20 second lead over the Bell/Kirkaldy car. It was a lead that they were able to maintain over the race distance and neither Bell nor his team mate were able to make any inroads into this. However they were able to keep the rest of the GT2 class behind them, taking the chequered flag in the runners up spot to record the first podium for the CR Scuderia FIA GT championship team.
Bell said of the weekend, “It’s a good result with a podium finish in the first race with a new team, but it’s tinged with a little disappointment, as we could have won. I know that’s aiming high for a debut, but the indications ahead of the race gave me so much confidence. It just came down to the wrong tyre choice for us today. We are a new team and although it’s already a very strong unit and amongst us all there’s plenty of experience, the result showed that we still have some learning to do. The weekend was a great start and I think the team will just get stronger, continuing to learn all the time and continuing to take the fight to the others and being one of the contenders for victory at each race.”
Bell is dovetailing the CR Scuderia FIA GT campaign with the Le Mans Series, racing for Virgo Motorsport in the Ferrari 430 GT. He will compete in the first round of this championship next weekend at Monza in Italy.