Bateman helps drive United Autosports to second straight British GT Championship win

CHARLES Bateman and Matt Bell took a convincing win in the British GT Championship three-hour race at Silverstone yesterday.

From fifth on the grid, they took the lead halfway through the race and won by a comfortable 14-second margin.

“It was a great result after all the hard work this weekend,” Bateman said.

“The team gave us a good race car and Matt drove brilliantly as always.

“We kept out of trouble, and it paid off massively.

“To win two races from two race meetings is brilliant.”

The win was a credit to the set-up of the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 and the flawless pit stops by the rest of the team.

For once, United Autosports were racing in dry and sunny conditions, a rarity this season.

Having qualified in fifth position on the 33 car grid, the biggest the championship has seen so far this year, Bateman took the first driver stint and within a few laps had worked his way up into third place.

In the three-hour race format, there are three compulsory driver changes.

Bateman brought the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 into the pits after 45 minutes to hand over to Bell.

The pit crew carried out a flawless re-fuelling and tyre change, and Bell returned to the circuit, being careful not to infringe the minimum pit-stop time rule.

At half distance, Bell had fought his way into the lead and soon after returned to the pits to hand back over to Bateman.

Another swift and seamless pit-stop put Bateman out on the track in the lead, and he then maintained first position until it was time to return the seat to Bell with 45 minutes of the race left to run.

By the flag, Bell had pulled out a comfortable 14-second lead after three hours of hard racing totake the second victory for the McLaren in the hands of United Autosports.

Team owner Richard Dean said: “It’s nice to win any race but to win the longest race, with the biggest grid, was the result we wanted.

“Both our drivers were faultless and drove a brilliant race.

“Our engineers and mechanics did a great job to understand these conditions and put us in a position to challenge for the win.

“The McLaren is still a new car so to take such a dominant victory is agreat result today.”