Injury to JOTA teammate cuts short Nürburgring race weekend
7th September 2021
The weekend’s planned race activity at the Nürburgring was cut short for Rob Bell and the JOTA team as they were forced to withdraw from the latest round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup on medical grounds. Rob’s teammate Ollie Wilkinson had been involved in a high-speed incident at Brands Hatch less than a week earlier, and despite the huge effort to rebuild the car, Ollie was still suffering with an injury which meant the difficult decision to pull out of the race, as the series does not allow two-driver entries.
Rob returned to the track for the first time since the strong showing with JOTA at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, looking to carry the momentum forwards and fight for further championship points. Rob’s teammates, Ollie Wilkinson and Ben Barnicoat had also shown race-winning pace at last week’s Sprint Cup event at Brands Hatch before Ollie was forced off the track at high speed, causing significant damage to the McLaren and with Ollie sustaining bruising and, as it later turned out, an injury to his knee.
The JOTA crew worked tirelessly to repair the car over the following days, successfully completing the rebuild in time to roll out of the garage in time for the first practice session. The efforts of the team were rewarded as the #38 McLaren looked strong in the opening sessions with Rob running solidly in the top-10 during the free practice session. Overall pace and setup looked promising ahead of qualifying, with Rob and the team looking to mount an attack to break into the top-5 during the three-hour race.
The physical demands on a racing driver are extreme at the best of times, and Ollie battled through the weekend’s early sessions in the hope he could make it through the race. However, with the injury sustained less than seven days earlier still causing Ollie issues, the decision was made by the team after consultation with the series doctor to withdraw from the remaining sessions of the weekend.
“The JOTA boys did a phenomenal job to get the car repaired and out to Germany in time for the first session, and we were on the pace straight out of the box, so all credit to the effort they put in. They have been on point every session throughout the year so far, and the work they completed in such a short space of time is amazing. I was really pleased to see Ollie walk away from such a high-speed incident last week, and credit to him for pushing on to try and make this weekend work. I know he was keen to race, as we all were, but his health and recovery is the most important thing. Hoping he makes a full recovery over the next few weeks before the next race event, and we will come back stronger and more eager than ever.”
Rob returns to track action with JOTA for the final round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS with the Endurance Cup signing off in Barcelona, 8-10 October.