16 June, 2013
Matt Bell took his third British GT podium finish of the season today at Snetterton. Racing the No.25 United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra with his team-mate Mark Patterson, Matt took fifth place in race one and third in the second of the two one-hour races.
The weekend got off to a tricky start when the heavens opened for qualifying. Despite improving throughout the first session Mark could only take 21st place on the grid for race one. Matt fared better and managed to grab fourth place, despite running on old tyres.
“We had hoped the track would dry out, especially when there was a long red flag period,” said Matt. “It wasn’t to be though and I had no choice other than to stay on the old tyres and go for it.”
When race one got underway this morning, Mark made a clean getaway and after battling with a few cars made his way up to 15th place before pitting to hand the Audi over to Matt.
“We had a good, clean pit stop and then I had a good out lap and jumped right up to 10th,” explained Matt. “I then had some tough battles on my way through to sixth place.”
The race-winning Porsche later received a time penalty, which promoted Matt and Mark to fifth.
It was Matt’s turn to start this afternoon’s race two and he immediately moved up into third position at turn one. After a battle royale with Nick Tandy’s Porsche he slipped to fourth but later made up for this as he and Tandy passed Stephen Jelley’s Porsche. Back in third place, Matt brought the Audi in for the pit stop and handed the car to Mark for the run to the flag.
“Mark rejoined in fourth place and jumped up to third on his out lap after passing the No.8 BMW,” said Matt. “He was creeping up on second place and both he and the car in P2 were creeping up on the leader, who then got held up by a GT4 car. For the last three laps the top four cars were running nose-to-tail. They were all having a go but ultimately the positions remained unchanged. We came home third, happy with a podium and happy to be involved in some great racing.”
“All in all we’re pleased to leave Snetterton with another good haul of points,” said Matt. “Race one was damage limitation after qualifying so we were very happy to take fifth as that was better than we expected. I was really hopeful of a win in race two but we were just half a second away from getting it!”
The British GT Championship takes it’s summer break now but Matt will be back on track in just two weeks’ time for the next round of the Blancpain Endurance Series which takes place at Paul Ricard in the south of France on 30 June.