- Strong finish in Feature Race - Mixed fortunes in Germany
It was a weekend of mixed fortunes around the legendary Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit for United Autosports during the second round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
On a damp but drying track after a short rain shower, Charles made a strong start off the line gaining several places to fourth. They approached the first corner, where he lost his advantage after several cars made contact in front of him. Charles then set about hunting down the leaders and made a superb move around Jon Minshaw. A three-way battle with Jody Firth and David Jones ended in contact with Firth, and he found himself in 11th. After 29 minutes he headed into the pits to swap with Matt Bell.
Once on track Matt did his best to make up position despite handling issues with the Audi R8 LMS. With twenty minutes to go he secured ninth. A stop-go penalty was handed to the team resulting from the earlier incident between Charles and Firth. With five minutes left on the clock Matt was battling hard, crossing the line in the Audi R8 LMS in 12th.
After Race 1, the Pilgrim Foodservice and Henderson Insurance sponsored Charles said “I got a good start and gained three places going into the first corner; I struggled to hold position as the car was off the pace. Then, I had an incident with Firth who pretty much stopped on the apex to the corner, I couldn’t avoid him.”
After a disappointing result in Friday’s race, the United Autosports team made some small set-up changes to the Audi R8 LMS GT3 to accommodate the cooler temperatures around the Nurburgring circuit.
From 11th on the grid, Matt didn’t get the start he wanted losing position as they headed into the first corner. As the race settled down he set about the task ahead but could not find a way to join the battle at the front. At the pit-stop window on lap 16 he handed over to Charles Bateman and a superb pit-stop by the United Autosports team saw him rejoin in 10th. Charles then got to work delivering a solid performance, enjoying a great battle with the Nissan GTR GT3 managing to pull out a half second gap. He then set his sights on the Ferrari 458 passing him easily to take sixth. With five minutes to go Charles was again under pressure and after a close fought charge he crossed the line in sixth; a point scoring finish from a tough weekend in Germany.
After Race 2 Charles said, “The team did a great pit stop, I had a good out lap and headed back into the race. I enjoyed my battle with the Nissan and Ferrari, those cars were much quicker so I tucked in behind hoping that someone would make a mistake. We just need to keep scoring points now to put ourselves back in the championship hunt.”