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Bell maintains championship challenge


Christchurch driver Eddie Bell will return from the Christmas break ready to build on his strong start to the 2009/2010 BNT V8s Championship when the series resumes at Teretonga Park in mid-January

Bell took his Independent Fisheries/Hydraulink Falcon to a win at the opening round of this years championship at Pukekohe and then followed that breakthrough result with seventh place overall at the second round at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna in Christchurch three weeks later. The strong start to the championship has the Cantabrian placed third in the championship in just his second full season in the country's premier motor racing category. Ahead of him are two of New Zealand's most experienced drivers - John McIntyre and Craig Baird.
The former MINI Challenge Champion arrived at his home round at Ruapuna leading the championship after taking the round victory at Pukekohe. While he emerged from the second round still in the top three of the championship Eddie is aware it could have been even better.
At Ruapuna Eddie qualified for the top ten shootout but his lap in the all important session wasn't what he wanted. "I made three major mistakes on my hot lap," he said. "I had a very fast car and it was quite frustrating having a car I could not use in the traffic during the races because of my qualifying position. I rue that shootout lap because it could have been quite a different weekend."
From his grid position he brought the Independent Fisheries/Hydraulink Falcon home in seventh place in the opening race after a good battle with former series champion Andy Booth and Clark Proctor. A few hours later Bell maintained seventh place throughout the second race of the round to set himself up for a good overall result.

The final race was a reverse grid event over 22 laps and just before the cars took to the track rain set in. In the difficult conditions Bell made great progress reaching fifth place and getting ready for a pass to take him to fourth. However the pass never eventuated as he was tagged from behind by another car, turning the Falcon around.

Eddie salvaged 12th place at the finish but the damage was done. "If it wasn't for that incident in the final race we would probably still be second in the championship. However, there is now a stronger desire in the team to show we are not a one-hit wonder." There is little chance of that however as Bell was impressive throughout his rookie season before kicking off this years campaign with his maiden race and round victory.
The championship continues at Teretonga Park in Invercargill from 15-17 January.
Bell's campaign is supported by Independent Fisheries, Hydraulink, Valvoline, Mondiale, Rilees Signs, Lamb & Hayward, Hawkins Refrigeration, Avon City Ford, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Arbi Monograms, PSP and Dinsdale Race Engineering.

Round 1 - 6-8 November 2009: Pukekohe Park Raceway, Auckland

Round 2 - 27-29 November 2009: Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna, Christchurch

Round 3 - 15-17 January 2010: Teretonga Park, Invercargill

Round 4 - 22-24 January 2010: Timaru International Motor Raceway, Timaru

Round 5 - 12-14 February 2010: Manfeild Park, Feilding

Round 6 - 19-21 March 2010: Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo

Non-Championship Trophy Race - 16-18 April 2010: Hamilton 400, Hamilton           

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