Bateman toasts his success! Boston driver tops podium at British GT Championship

Bateman (right) and Bell.
Bateman (right) and Bell.

CHARLES Bateman and Matt Bell have topped the podium in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.

The pair scored a comfortable victory at Snetterton in the United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C GT3.

A rain-soaked circuit created problems on Saturday, cutting short free practice and cancelling qualifying.

The drivers’ times in free practice produced grid places of fourth for Boston’s Bateman and ninth for teammate Bell.

The pair’s win means there have been seven different winners in seven races in the British GT Championship, repeating United Autosports’ feat from the 2011 season, when Bell and Michael Guasch scored the team’s first win in GT3 competition, then driving an Audi.

On a dry track on Sunday, United Autosports’ win owed much to Bateman’s opening stint in race one.

In the Boston driver’s first race in the car - he only had a matter of minutes practising on an airfield - Bateman took only two laps of the Snetterton 300 circuit to move from fourth on the grid into the lead, passing the Beechdean Aston Martin in the infield section of the circuit.

Having moved in front, Bateman was able to stretch his lead quickly over the Aston Martin, a near eight-second gulf opening up back after just five laps.

That lead only grew when the Aston Martin spun at the Montreal hairpin, falling back to seventh behind a developing battle for second as a handful of cars backed up behind a now second-placed Porsche.

As time approached the pitstop window, Bateman’s lead had swelled to more than 34 seconds over the Porsche and Ferrari, which were running in second and third place.

Charles handed the car over to his teammate Bell, suffering with ongoing braking issues.

Bell eventually took the chequered flag with a 16-second lead over the rest of the field.

Race two saw the United Autosports McLaren MP4-12C GT3 car retire after four laps, with the brake problem making it unsafe to continue.