Martyn Bell secured two more Independents' points finishes in the penultimate rounds of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone.
Bell produced one of his strongest weekends of the season at the Northamptonshire circuit as he quickly got to grips with tricky wet conditions at the wheel of his Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch, having struggled earlier in the year in rain at both Rockingham and Croft.
Bell had qualified 21st on the grid for race one, but as the field came round to line up on the grid, rain started to fall. Having initially elected to put slick tyres on the front of the Astra and wets on the rear, it quickly became apparent that it was the wrong call as the rain got heavier, and he pitted at the end of the green flag lap to go for wet tyres all round – meaning he started from the pitlane at the back of the field.
Quickly in the groove and making up positions, Bell found himself battling for position with Knockhill podium finisher Rob Collard and took 17th place, having matched the Motorbase BMW for pace throughout.
Bell added more points to his Independents' tally with a solid run to 14th in race two and despite running off track twice in the final race of the weekend, he came home 18th in his ex-works Vauxhall to complete a solid day of racing as the BTCC returned to the Home of British Motor Racing.
“I was a bit nervous with the Astra when we saw it was going to be wet and thought it could be Rockingham revisited,” he said, “but the team has helped me gain confidence in the rain and I had a really strong race car. I put some good sector times in and I felt on it in race one and two. It was drying in the final race and the car was a bit of a handful. I lost a few places on lap one but got myself back into gear but then I went off across the gravel.
“I had a good few laps battling with Matt Neal on track and it was really good to be able to follow him and see the front-wheel drive lines, but then I went across the gravel again when I was trying too hard. It's a hard school to be a member of, but we got some well earned results and picked up some Independent points for the team and for myself. I'd have been happier with another good run in the final race, but we live to fight another day.”