01 June, 2014
Matt Bell’s British GT race at Silverstone ended abruptly today when his team-mate was hit from behind in the pit lane in one of the most bizarre incidents Matt has ever witnessed.
After suffering from not one but two punctures in qualifying, Matt and his team-mate Mark Patterson had hauled themselves up to eighth place on the grid and were looking forward to a good, long, three-hour race that would give them plenty of time to make the positions up.
Mark took the start and bolted straight up to sixth place. He was a man on a mission, still lapping at a furious pace and up to fifth place when the safety car came out after 30 minutes of racing.
“The safety car was perfect timing for our strategy so everything was looking great,” said Matt. “Mark pitted but as he braked to go over the 60kph line at the pit entry, the car behind came around the corner and slammed into the back of him, ending the race for both cars. Apparently the driver in the car was looking down at his dash instead of looking where he was going!”
As Mark travels all the way from the USA for the British GT races the United Autosports team pulled out all the stops to get the car fixed and back into the race. After a long spell in the garage, Matt jumped in but just a lap into his run he had to pit again. The damage done was too severe for the rear floor to stay attached and the No.23 Audi was regretfully retired.
“It was unacceptable driving in any championship, let alone the top British championship,” said Matt. “All credit to the team for their efforts to get us back out there though.
“It’s a real shame for us and a real shame for the Aldermore guests as I think they would have been in for a good show today. We could have been fighting for the lead if it wasn’t for the crash. I just hope we finally have some luck when we get to Snetterton so I can reward their support with some better results.
“The championship has gone now, through no fault of our own,” he concluded. “We need to treat the remainder of the season as a series of one-off races. If we can just get a little luck I think it could be a lot of fun!”