Bateman's Championship Battle Slips at Silverstone

An exciting two-hour season finale saw Charles Bateman with the British GT Championship title within his grasp. So long as a race win was secured and current leaders making third then the title was in the bag. This was the first time Charles had driven Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, so no pressure. The #5 Scuderia Vittoria Ferrari 458 qualified in 10th on the grid, so there was work to be done on race day. Charles drove the opening stint and made stunning progress with classic and daring manoeuvres to reach 3rd by the end of the first lap. Before the end of the second lap Charles was sitting comfortably in 2nd place. During this period Charles also achieved fastest lap of the race. Heading towards half-way and the start of the driver changes, Charles and his team-mate found themselves as the men to beat in the championship, with title challengers running down in eighth. Team instructions prior to the start of the race were to get to the front at least 40 seconds ahead of the next car, by the time Charles pitted he had gained a 46 second lead still in 2nd - the lead car was not a Championship contender. As it stood therefore on the restart, Charles and his team-mate were set to take the title by a single point... After the driver change and long safety car period, Charles' team-mate slipped behind to 7th before his title hopes were ended by a drive-through penalty for exceeding the track limits.  After the race Charles said "It was fantastic to have made so many places on the 1st lap and to get fastest lap of the race, we were set up to win the race and the title. Unfortunately Michael (team-mate) couldn't maintain the position. I hope my sponsors Pilgrim and Hendersons are as pleased as I am about the season and I would like to thank them for their continued support, without them this would not have been possible." Charles' first season in the British GT Championship resulted =3rd in the points table. An amazing achievement for a new team supporting a new car with drivers new to the Championship. TV coverage of this race will be Saturday 22/10/2011 on Channel 4 at 7am.

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