Welsh motor racing star Seb Morris returns to Blancpain Endurance Cup duty next Saturday, 1st June, when the third round of the 2019 season takes place at Paul Ricard in southern France – a venue which holds very happy memories for the Bentley Continental driver.
Carving out a glittering reputation as one of the quickest and most competitive professional drivers in the globe’s biggest GT3 endurance category, the 23-year-old arrives back on mainland Europe next week with only Pro-Am silverware in his sights after a frustrating season to-date.
By rights, particularly considering the searing, fastest lap pace he has been producing, Chester-based Morris should be in the thick of the title battle as the championship gets ready for round three of the season but a variety of troubles – out of his control – have ensured a challenging 2019 so far.
Currently sixth in the Pro-Am standings, along with Team Parker Racing team-mates Derek Pierce and Rob Smith, the BRDC Superstar and Motorsport UK ‘Team UK’ sportsman is confident the trio can start to turn around their championship bid during the annual six-hour ‘into the night’ race.
“We’ve got all the ingredients right, the car is quick and handles well and the team is doing a fantastic job – we’ve just had a lot of bad luck!”, said Morris, “At the start of the year we wanted to challenge for the championship and knew we had the potential. It’s still not over by any means, but the first two races have made things more difficult.
“I want to get plenty of points in the bag for Derek [Pierce] and Team Parker next weekend and help to get their campaign back on track. Obviously, I’ll be stepping out of the car for Spa [24 Hour] in July and joining Bentley’s Pro entry for that race, so I’m focused on doing everything I can to get the best result possible at Ricard in Pro-Am and hopefully we’ll all move up the championship.”
Round one of the season at Monza in Italy was, frustratingly, a non-starter for Morris when he wasn’t able to qualify or race. First, an incident for Smith in the second of three qualifying sessions meant the car was too damaged to take part in the third run and then, in the race, a tangle for Pierce in the opening stint forced retirement for the No.31 Bentley Continental.
Last time out at Silverstone, a challenge for the podium – and possibly the Pro-Am win – went awry at the start of Morris’ run in the final stint of the three-hour contest when an issue resulted in the Bentley stalling multiple times.
Undeterred and producing an impeccable performance when he was finally able to exit the pits, Morris delivered magnificent pace to set the fastest Pro-Am lap, the quickest first sector of all, and salvage a top five finish. So remarkable was his speed, the Liberty properties and Legat Owen supported driver was more than four seconds per lap faster than the cars immediately around him.
With all of that in mind, and having been a podium finisher at Paul Ricard last season with second place in Pro-Am alongside Pierce and Smith, the Welsh ace will undoubtedly be a driver to keep a very close eye on again a week from now.
“I’m pleased with my pace this year as I’ve been one of the fastest, if not the fastest, Bentley drivers out there”, he commented, “I need to keep proving to Bentley I’m the complete package, especially as we get closer to the Spa 24 Hours, so next weekend I have to make sure I deliver in qualifying and hopefully we’ll finally have a straightforward race!”
Track action for Morris at Paul Ricard will get underway next Friday, 31st May, with free practice and pre-qualifying. On Saturday, 1st June, final qualifying will commence at 10.30 (local time) with round three of the season starting at 18.00 (local time) and concluding at midnight.