British GT

Bell And Guasch Keep Championship Lead After Solid Spa Weekend

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United Autosports' lead driver pairing preserved their points lead in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship with a consistent weekend at Spa-Francorchamps that included last lap passes in both races.

Matt Bell and Michael Guasch's lead had been dented by a DNF in the previous round at Brands Hatch – when Guasch was pushed into the gravel – and there were echoes of that accident in Belgium when the American was hit from behind at the Bus Stop chicane on the first lap, dropping out of the top ten before he could recover.

Throughout his 25 minute stint Guasch moved up the order, making passes and taking advantage of problems for other teams – unfortunately including the sister Audi R8 LMS of John Bintcliffe and Jay Palmer after Palmer spun on oil at Les Combes.

“I was following an Aston Martin which blew up in front of me and I spun off on its oil,” said Palmer, “glancing the barriers at reasonable speed which caused bodywork damage. Although I got the Audi back to the pits, on a punctured tire, the damage was too bad to continue.”

Guasch handed the Molecule sponsored car to Matt Bell during a mid-race safety car period, the team also taking the opportunity to replace a punctured front tyre, the additional time dropping the 21-year-old down to ninth for the restart. He too was able to move up the order, latching onto the tail for a four-way battle for fourth place, finishing the race in sixth after passing Tim Bridgman's Porsche on the final lap.

Bell opened the driving for the in the no.23 car for the second race, moving up from seventh on the grid to join the battle for second place. Bell peaked at third place, before Guasch began his stint in fifth place for, happily a quieter stint that his race one spell. He was, however, able to make a crucial pass on the final lap exiting Eau Rouge, taking fifth on track away from Jim Geddie, who with son Glynn now only lie two points behind in the series points standings. Palmer and Bintcliffe battled a ill-handling car – due to minor on track contact – to take tenth overall.

Bell said; “I got a very good start in Race Two but the front tires dropped off near the end of my stint. Audi hadn't got the outright speed compared to the Ferrari, Porsche and Aston today. I could make up time in the corners but on the straight it was difficult. But we still lead the championship so we've got to be happy.”

The British GT series now takes a near two month break, returning to action at Rockingham in September.

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