17 May, 2012
- 30 car grid for first British GT first overseas race
- Changeable track conditions proved a challenge
- Still more to come for first race tomorrow
In this afternoon's qualifying session for round two of the Cooper Tyres British GT Championship, driving United Autosports Audi R8 LMS GT3, Charles Bateman set a time of 1.45.487 to qualify in eighth for tomorrow's race – the first of the weekend – amid an overall grid of 30 cars.
Charles took to the track and put in a strong performance despite struggling for pace, to secure an eighth place start for race 1 in an incredibly tight 15 minute qualifying session.
After a five-minute break team-mate Matt Bell jumped in for the second part of qualifying and despite his best efforts, he could do no more than 11th come the flag.
Having ran well for both the 15 minute qualifying sessions, all that was left for the team to do was hone the cars' set up, and although they didn't get the starting position they wanted the team know that there is still more to come for the first race tomorrow.
Matt Bell (UK), Age 22. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. Lives Barningham, UK
" It was really difficult today. Track conditions have changed quite a lot since this morning, and we struggled with front end grip which unsettled the car through the high speed corners. I made a small mistake on my best lap, which would have put me in ninth so I am a bit disappointed about that. It has given us a bit of a challenge for tomorrow but if we can get the car set up back to how we had it in practice then we should be able to make up for the poor qualifying position today."
Charles Bateman (UK), Age 24. Born: Boston, Lincs UK. Lives: Boston, Lincs, UK
"That was a really tricky qualifying session. The temperature on track had dropped massively since practice this morning. It was made even more difficult because we couldn't use any tyre warmers before we got to the track. The car felt good, but it showed that we just don't have the overall pace of the Aston or the Porsche. As always the race will be a different story, and it should make it interesting. I will be doing my best to bring the Audi home in a point scoring position by the end."
Richard Dean (UK), Team Owner and Managing Director of United Autosports
"Going from a pole at Oulton Park to our position today is extremely disappointing. We are a long way from an ultimate pace on new tyres in qualifying. The balance of performance, at this track, looks unbalanced. The Porsche and Aston Martin seemed to benefit- here. Looking at the race I believe that we have the better race car and the best two drivers as a pairing. With some luck we can make it into the top six, but a podium is still on cards."
Friday 18th May @ 4.30pm (local time) 5.30pm (UK Time)
Saturday 19th May @ 9.15am (local time) 8.15am (UK Time)