RACING INTO THE NIGHT Adria's race into darkness ended tonight with an eighth place finish for Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen and in retirement for Andrew Kirkaldy and Rob Bell. It was an incredibly hard event for all the teams with soaring ...
RACING INTO THE NIGHT
Adria's race into darkness ended tonight with an eighth place finish for Chris Niarchos and Tim Mullen and in retirement for Andrew Kirkaldy and Rob Bell. It was an incredibly hard event for all the teams with soaring temperatures making it tough on everyone.
The race got off to a good start with Rob Bell moving up from seventh to fifth, as he explains:
"The start was very good," said Bell. "It was clean and aggressive and I made it up to fifth. On the next lap I managed to take Malucelli around the outside of turn three which was pretty sweet. I caught Biagi for fifth and it was all looking good; the car was working well and I was putting the pressure on Biagi. Unfortunately Malucelli tagged my rear - I think he outbraked himself - going into turn one, and spun me around and I had to watch everyone go past before I could rejoin. It's hard to overtake here but I managed to get bac k up to fourth. All in all it went well but it was a bit more eventful than I would have liked. Ultimately we just didn't get the rub of the green tonight."
The race ended for car 56 when Rob pitted to hand over to Kirkaldy. Andrew jumped in but as soon as he pulled away the driveshaft broke and it was game over.
"It was a very short race for me," said Kirkaldy. "I got in, pulled away, the driveshaft broke and that was the end of it. I think as a whole we've made progress this weekend though. We had a few problems in practice and qualifying but we made some pretty dramatic mechanical changes before warm-up and moved forward. Rob's stint was very good tonight and we were on for a sure second. We need to qualify in the proper place on the grid then I think we'll be off and running."
Tim Mullen moved up a place to seventh at the start and had an incident-free first stint. Chris Niarchos took over at the pit-stop and also had a good run before handing back over to Tim to bring it home. Running on the soft tyre for the last stint Tim was flying!
"The car felt great on the soft tyres at the end," said Mullen. "It's a shame we weren't on those for the whole weekend as we were fast but we decided early on to use the medium tyre. You live and learn though. Our pace was good so it's onwards and upwards from here."
CRS Team Principal, Chris Niarchos, is happy that his team took another step forward this weekend.
"I feel good about the overall pace of the team but ultimately disappointed with the results," said Niarchos. "Car 55 suffered from a couple of mistakes including tyre choice but this is all just indicative of a new team finding its way. I think the team is really gelling now; we are still learning but we are learning fast. It's disappointing that car 56 had the driveshaft problem as part failures are hard to take. There is nothing you can do about it so it's a frustrating thing to handle. Rob had done an exceptional job in the opening stint too. It's Oschersleben next, and we have all been strong there in the past, then we're off to Spa which is where the season really starts as there is a huge haul of points up for grabs."
Next up for CRS is the British GT Championship meeting at Thruxton next weekend before the team heads across European again for the German round of the FIA GT Championship.