Next Stop Belgium On United Autosports? Hectic 5,000-mile European "Tour"
After races in Spain and France, "star-studded" driver line-up to test at Spa Independence Day Celebrations On Hold for American team at Paul Ricard
The United Autosports team heads directly to Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) for an "official" 24 Hour race Test Day on Wednesday (July 7) after contesting the latest FIA GT3 European Championship races in France this weekend (July 3-4).
Having posted 13th and 17th places in the opening one-hour race at Paul Ricard on Saturday, there was to be no Independence Day celebration for the American team the following day when the #22 Audi salvaged a hard-earned 18th after the #23 Audi was the innocent victim of an opening lap accident causing its retirement.
The 3.63-mile Paul Ricard (High Tech Test Track) circuit at Le Castellet, near Marseille, was opened in 1969. The 14-turn track is characterized by its long Mistral straight (1.12-mile) and elongated track design. The track, built on a plateau, is known for its distinctive blue, black and red colored run-off areas.
At Spa, the #67 Audi will be piloted by Emil Assentato (USA), Stefan Johansson (Sw) and Alain Li (F) - Mark Patterson unable to attend due to prior business commitments - with Mark Blundell (GB), Zak Brown (USA), Eddie Cheever (USA) and Richard Dean (GB) aboard the "sister" #68 R8 LMS.
There is now an 11-week break in the FIA GT3 European Championship before the ninth and 10th rounds are staged at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão (Portugal) over September 18-19.
Race 1 (Saturday) Qualifying: 8th #23 Bell, 2m 10.741s; 19th #22 Guasch, 2m 13.267s. Weather: Sunny, hot. Race Result: 13th (#23) +78.111s P1; 17th (#22) -1 lap P1. Weather: Sunny, very hot.
Having been the fastest Audi R8 LMS for the first time this season in Friday?s second practice, Bell continued United Autosports? ever-improving trend by netting the American team?s best start position of the season, an eventual eighth place on the 25-car grid despite dropping two places in the final minute of qualifying - to be the best placed Audi again - and having only gained 14-laps knowledge of the high-speed Ricard track the previous day.
Bell and Guasch completed the opening lap in eighth and 17th positions