United Autosports’ Charles Bateman pays the penalty in British GT Championship at Brands Hatch

Bateman in action at Brands Hatch.
Bateman in action at Brands Hatch.

CHARLES Bateman helped his United Autosports team to a ninth-place finish in the latest Avon Tyres British GT Championship contest.

The team arrived for round four still putting the final touches to the new Audi R8 Ultra GT3 at Brands Hatch, in Kent, ahead of first practice on Saturday morning.

Boston racer Bateman and teammate Matt Bell qualified with a seventh-row start.

As a field of 25 contenders charged into the first corner on a wet, drying track on Sunday, Bateman showed the strength he has been demonstrating so far this year with another stunning performance - which saw him make up five places by the end of the first lap.

He then set about hunting down the leaders to run in an impressive third place by the halfway stage of the race.

Bateman said: “The start was difficult because we started on slicks, and the track was very greasy so I had to be really careful not to make any mistakes.

“A bit of luck came our way at the start, and I made the best of the situation.

“The car felt really good, the balance is great, so despite the result, we have made progress.”

A quick turnaround in the pit lane by the team saw Bell head back out to rejoin the race.

Once the order settled down after the flurry of pit stops, the Audi Ultra was still in third.

Bell was fighting hard and holding off the pole-sitting Porsche when the team was hit with a one-second penalty for a pit stop infringement.

Undeterred, he dealt with the pressure superbly and was back out on track running in ninth when a puncture forced him back into the pits with 10 minutes to go.

Despite his best efforts and a promising debut for the new Audi R8 Ultra, he was unable to improve his position once back out on track and crossed the line in 11th.

The next round of the British GT Championship is at Snetterton in Norfolk on Sunday, August 5.