Bell and Auberlen 3rd at Lime Rock Park Strong day for Turner Motorsport with 1-3 finish (25 May 2009) Lakeville, CT--Matt Bell and Bill Turner combined to score a strong third place finish for Turner Motorsport in Monday's Grand-Am KONI Sports...
Bell and Auberlen 3rd at Lime Rock Park Strong day for Turner Motorsport with 1-3 finish
(25 May 2009) Lakeville, CT--Matt Bell and Bill Turner combined to score a strong third place finish for Turner Motorsport in Monday's Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge race at Lime Rock Park with the No. 96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3.
Bell started the race from second on the grid, but lost a pair of positions at the green flag before moving back up to take them back. With a tight field of GS racers, the action was intense up front, but that didn't help Bell as he was knocked off course and forced back to 14th in the order in the early going. But the young racer didn't panic and just went back to work, putting his previous Lime Rock Park experience to use and moving up the order to retake the lead some 46 laps into the race.
"I just tried to keep my cool and concentrated on knocking out 58 after 58 (lap times) because the car was really consistent, and I was able to just keep moving up the order," said Bell. "It was a really up and down stint, just like its been a really up and down season!"
A restart saw Bell leading the sister Turner Motorsport machine of BMW factory racer Joey Hand, who was on a different pit strategy and had fresher tires. The two ran in lock step as they broke free of the pack and established a significant margin over the field.
Another full course caution saw Bell turn the machine over to Auberlen, who rejoined the field in 12th at the restart and moved quickly forward as a big battle for the lead waged up front.
The Lime Rock Park expert made it up to podium position in third, but ran out of laps to challenge the second-placed running machine as the Turner Motorport home race netted two spots on the podium with finishes of first and third as Hand and Gleason scored the win.
"It's great to get back up on the podium today, especially considering how much we got knocked around at the start of the race," said Bell. "The car was just fantastic. This result is a testament to the strategy that the Turner guys call and more so, their ability to think on the fly because that contact forced an extra stop but we were still able to come out of here with a good result so I'm really pleased."
Bell will be back in action in two weeks' time at Watkins Glen International as the KONI Challenge visits the upstate New York track as part of the Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen's 6 hour event.