Honours even between title rivals in Silverstone LMP3 bout


United and Ecurie were an even match on the Grand Prix circuit. (United Autosports)

Title protagonists Colin Noble/Alasdair McCaig and Matt Bell/Tony Wells came out of the LMP3 Cup Championship weekend at Silverstone without loss or gain following a victory and a second place for each pairing.

Noble and McCaig took a hard-fought win in the opening 60-minute contest on  Saturday, before Bell and Wells responded with a triumph of their own on Sunday.

The Nielsen Racing-run Ecurie Ecosse Ligier JSP3-Nissan won the first race by 3.5 seconds from the identical United Autosports car, following a spirited chase from Bell on Noble.

Noble had to recover from a mishap at the start for McCaig, who dropped out of the top three, but the Ecurie driver got past leader Andrew Evans with an overtake and second-placed Callan O’Keeffe in the pit stops to reach the front.

With Bell doing the same, it became a straight fight between the two title rivals to the flag but Bell was unable to usurp the points leader.

In race two, Bell overtook Christian England, who shared with Evans and took pole on both occasions, and held on to beat Noble by five seconds.

Former Red Bull junior Callan O’Keeffe completed the podium twice, driving the Douglas Motorsport Ligier JSP3 solo.

That decision to run without a team-mate hampered what could have been two victories for the 20-year-old, who is in the running for an LMP3 drive with Olympic legend Chris Hoy as part of the Sports Insure Young Driver Initiative.

O’Keeffe led race one following a brave move around the outside of England at Stowe, but the longer stop pushed him behind England/Andrew Evans and the eventual top-two.

A similar scenario played out in the second tilt, with O’Keeffe again relinquishing his advantage but taking fastest lap honours in consolation.

The results mean Noble and McCaig hold a 47-point lead over Bell and Wells with four races to go.

Following sixth and fifth place finishes at Silverstone, Speedworks Motorsport driver Jack Butel moves up to third in the standings.

LMP3 Cup Championship points.