17 June, 2013
Mark Patterson and Matt Bell scored a well-earned third place in the second race of the day at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk, during round four of the British GT Championship.
The #25 Audi R8 LMS ultra finished on the podium for the third time this season leaving the duo only half a point behind the championship leaders. Matt was up to P3 after the first lap, managing to hold on till the pit stop driver change over to Mark. Mark then caught the leaders at a fast pace, finishing just 1.29 seconds behind the winning Porsche. Race one was also a success for the pair as they made their way to an impressive 5th from a qualifying position of P25.
Unfortunately, the weekend was not as successful for the McLaren MP4-12C’s. After a huge downpour, the first qualifying session swiftly ended for Zak Brown, after he was hit from behind by a GT4 Ginetta whilst overtaking, which resulted in him hitting the wall, meaning his team mate, Alvaro Parente, could not set a qualifying time during the second session. Zak managed to put the car in P18 for the start of the first race but Alvaro had to settle for a back of the grid start for race two. After a late night for the team, the car was put back together and was able to go out for both races.
The second McLaren of Glynn Geddie and Jody Firth suffered with their 75kg weight penalty. Jody put the #24 car in P11 on the grid for the first race on Sunday, having been baulked during the wet qualifying session as the track was drying out and getting faster and faster, ruining a certain top four qualifying position. Glynn also suffered with the 75kg penalty, but the pair of them stormed through the order during race one with Glynn running in a strong fourth place until the end when lapping traffic again delayed his progress. P8 was a great result for Jody and Glynn with the team, marking them out to be serious candidates for podium places for the rest of the year. Zak put in a storming opening stint after the qualifying accident, making up six places on the first lap alone. P10 and the final points scoring position was a great result after the damage incurred after qualifying.
The team were delighted that all three cars were in the top ten for the first time this season.
The second race was more challenging for the McLarens as they both suffered punctures within the first two laps after contact with other cars. After an unscheduled tyre change for Alvaro and Glynn, they had to fight back to catch up to the rest of the pack. As the pit window opened all the cars changed drivers and went back out to finish the race.
Coming away from round 4 with only 3 rounds to go, United Autosports are now lying second in the drivers championship, second in the team championship with Mark Patterson leading the Blancpain Gentleman Drivers Championship. The British GT Championship now moves to Brands Hatch, Kent for the fifth round on 10th / 11th August.
McLaren MP4-12C #24
Qualifying 1 P11
Qualifying 2 P19
Race 1 P8
Race 2 P14
Jody Firth, Driver, United Autosports #24 McLaren MP4-12C
“We got a puncture, which put us on the back foot, and we were all praying for a safety car but it never came. The car was good, and I was able to push and our lap times were consistent so we held our own. It’s a shame, but we have made some solid steps forward throughout the weekend and it bodes well for the next race.”
Glynn Geddie, Driver, United Autosports #24 McLaren MP4-12C
“I’m not really sure what happened at the start to be honest. The leaders were going flat out before we even came out of the corner, and it caused chaos. It was difficult, and then we got a puncture so that made any real challenge impossible. We will come back stronger, and our luck is due to change at some point.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports
“A fifth and a third place finish for Matt and Mark is a good result for us this weekend. It’s very close for the lead in the British GT Championship, and we are certainly in with a shout. Zak had an unfortunate accident in qualifying with a GT4 car that put them at the back so they had work to do. Then in the race both McLarens had a puncture, which ruined any chance of a result. In the first race we had three cars in the top ten, which is excellent and the first time that has happened this year. Overall we are happy to be half a point off the championship with the Audi after four rounds, but there is still a lot of work to do. We have a break now so it will be time to regroup.”