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Disappointment for Bell in Adria FIA GT

24th June 2008

British driver Rob Bell had a difficult race in the FIA GT series in Adria this weekend, after a driveshaft problem forced the team into early retirement from Sunday’s evening race. Bell, driving for the CR Scuderia team alongside Andrew Kirkaldy in the Ferrari GT2 F430, had a mixed weekend after suffering difficulties with the car during the run up to the race.

Kirkaldy took to the track for the Saturday qualifying session, but had problems during the session, leaving them seventh in class on the grid for the race. Bell was selected to take the start of the two hour race distance, as the Italian evening sun dropped. The Newcastle-born racer was off the line well and showed his race skills by quickly moving up to fourth place. Behind Bell the fifth place driver, Matteo Malucelli outbraked himself and nudged the back of the CR Scuderia, sending Bell into a spin and into the run-off. Luckily he managed to keep the car running and was able to rejoin the track, but the incident had left him down the order, just ahead of Malucelli, at the back of the grid.

The Adria Circuit is notoriously difficult to overtake on, however grit, determination and some good passing manoeuvres enabled Bell to take the CR Scuderia car back up to fourth place through the remainder of his stint . With good pace in the car, the Ferrari looked to be heading for a strong finish, but disaster struck when Bell pitted to hand over to his team mate. Almost as soon as Kirkaldy pulled away the driveshaft broke, ending their race prematurely.

Bell commented after the race, “This has been a bit of an up and down weekend, we had quite a few problems with the car during practice and qualifying which we were struggling with, but in the race the car felt good during my stint. The Adria track is really tight and twisty and really difficult to overtake on, so you’re working hard behind the wheel with no rest, and combining this with the extreme heat in the cockpit – and it was exceptionally hot – it made for a really tough race.

“I think with the pace in the car we could have done well in the race, maybe scored a podium or even got the win if the car had kept performing. The CR Scuderia team are great to work with, but we are a new setup and we’re still learning. We hope at the next race we will avoid all of the technical issues we have had this weekend and we can then focus on achieving a strong result and some points.”

The next race for Rob Bell will be at the Oschersleben track in Germany on the 5th- 6th July. He will once again be racing in the FIA GT’s with the CR Scuderia Team in the Ferrari F340.