Fifth place for Bateman in British GT Championship

CHARLES Bateman has helped his United Autosports team to a fifth place finish in the British GT Championship at Oulton Park on Easter Monday.

Bostonian Bateman, along with teammate Matt Bell, thought they had clinched victory in race one.

Having built up a six-second lead between them they looked set to take the chequered flag, only to be denied victory with a last-lap fuel pick-up problem.

Undeterred, the duo put the disappointment of the first race behind them in the second, hour-long race... where Bateman made up four places late on to gain fifth spot.

“The track was changing all the time with greasy conditions,” said Bateman.

“I made some good clean passes and I think fifth is a great result for us from the back of the grid.”

Together, the pair drove the United Autosports Audi R8 LMS to fifth place and 10 points.

Bell had been penalised for an indiscretion during Saturday’s qualifying session when he was deemed to have overtaken under the yellow flags at Knickerbrook, and had to start race two from the back of the grid.

On used, wet tyres, and in diabolical conditions, the 22-year-old didn’t waste a second as he stormed through the field, picking off car after car to bring the Audi into 12th place on lap 10.

By then he was fighting the car as it aquaplaned through standing water, but he kept his head to safely hand the car over to Bateman on lap 14.

With the benefit of new rubber, Bateman left the pits in 17th place.

He then moved up a place with every tour of the circuit, and with the clock ticking down and 16 minutes left to run, the 25-year old started setting personal-best laps.

With a tremendously gritty drive, the Pilgrim Food Services-sponsored driver was up to ninth place on lap 23.

A with five minutes to run, Bateman he began his assault which saw him gain four places.