07 October, 2013
Matt Bell and Mark Patterson had the race of their lives yesterday, taking a well-deserved win in the season-closing British GT race at Donington Park. Matt took the chequered flag in the United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra a clear eight seconds ahead of the nearest challenger after two hours of hard racing. This win moved them up from sixth place in the championship to second, an agonising 1.5 points away from the outright title.
Matt qualified in seventh position for Sunday’s race, unlucky with traffic in the Rolex Explorer Replica qualifying session as he caught a GT4 car on every lap.
“We were a little bit disappointed with seventh,” said Matt. “We knew we were out of position and we still weren’t 100% happy with our set up so we made a few changes on Saturday night. It was the right thing to do as when we went out for warm up the car felt great and crucially Mark was much happier with it.”
Mark started the race and delivered what Matt described as ‘the stint of the year’. After holding position at the start he settled into the race, stayed focused during an early safety car period, then went on the attack. After reeling in and passing a BMW and then the Beechdean Aston Martin he had a terrific battle with a McLaren, which managed to slip past him. Not having any of it Mark went after him and retook the position, pitting at the end of his run in a brilliant third place.
Slick pit work from United Autosports put Matt into the race in fourth place on the tail of Duncan Tappy in the McLaren. He passed him on the out lap though and set off after the race leaders so it was a straight fight between Joe Osborne’s BMW in the lead, Rob Barff’s Ferrari in second place, followed by Matt.
“Rob was defending well so we had a fun battle for about five laps and then I managed to pass the Ferrari,” said Matt. “I went after Joe and we were very evenly matched but my life was made a lot easier when he got a drive through and I was able to take the lead.”
Matt took the lead with 45 minutes of the race remaining. For the next 20 minutes he had Rob Barff on his tail as the two cars made their way through traffic. Once Matt got a clear track ahead of him though he was able to pull out a gap and crossed the line eight seconds clear of the Ferrari.
“It’s always a good feeling to finish the year on a high with a race win,” said Matt. “I want to say a big thank you to United Autosports and also to our sponsors who we have had a lot of support from this year: Henderson, Castrol Edge and Viglen. A big thank you also needs to go to Audi and last but definitely not least to Mark Patterson who has been clean and quick all year. I have had a brilliant time driving with him.”