Hard battling at Donington Park secures top-10 finish on British GT return
31st May 2022
Making a one-off appearance for the season, Rob Bell returned to the Intelligent Money British GT Championship to help secure a hard-fought top-10 finish with the Fox Motorsport team. Driving alongside season-regular Nick Halstead in the #40 McLaren 720S GT3, Rob helped to move up the order during the 3-hour event at Donington Park to finish P7 in the Pro-Am class, P9 overall, and continue the team’s push in the championship standings.
Standing in for Jamie Stanley for round 4 of the season, factory driver Rob made a welcome return to the championship, having previously scored the first race victory with the 720S GT3 at the Midlands circuit. Pace and setup were gradually improved over the early sessions, but both Nick and Rob struggled to get the best out of the tyre over the short qualifying sessions. Ultimately struggling for grip, the pair combined to line up P12 on the grid.
Confident of the performance and setup over the longer runs, and with 3 hours of opportunity, the race started cleanly, and Nick was immediately involved in a multi-car battle as he looked to move up the order. His persistence and consistency paid off as the #40 had progressed into the top-10 within 30 minutes, and Rob would continue this charge as he took over following a Safety Car intervention which shook up the running order.
Rob showed his outright pace and his experience over the stint, pulling off several passes to keep the fight alive for championship points. A bold move around the outside of turn 1 to progress up to P8 overall underlined the pace of the McLaren and the confidence Rob had in the car. The strategies continued to play out over the middle hour of the race, climbing as high as P5 in the final stages of the race and heading to the final mandatory stop.
With just over 35 minutes remaining, Rob took on the final stint looking to close the gap and maintain a top-10 position, both overall and in class. One final incident brought out more yellow flags in what was an action-packed event, and Rob continued to pressure to the line, claiming one final position in the closing minutes. As the chequered flag dropped, Rob brought the #40 across the line to take P7 in the Pro-Am class, P9 overall, gaining valuable points for the team in both championship standings.
Rob Bell –
“It was great to be back, and really enjoyed racing with Nick and the Fox Motorsport guys. We struggled a bit for overall grip, especially over the shorter sessions, so we were on the back foot after qualifying, but the outright pace was there or thereabouts. It put us slightly out of position for the start, but race pace allowed us to really push on and it was great to have some battles all the way to the end. The British GT championship is one of the most competitive grids, and Nick certainly held his own throughout the race. I’m really pleased I could help the team score some important championship points, and good luck to them for the rest of the season.”
Rob now heads straight into another race week, rejoining the JOTA team as the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS resumes with the Paul Ricard 1,000kms. Action takes place over the weekend, 3-5 June and will be streamed live via the SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography