26 May, 2013
Matt Bell and his United Autosports team mate Mark Patterson had to settle for 17th place for the No.25 Audi R8 LMS ultra in today’s three-hour British GT race at Silverstone.
“We knew we were struggling prior to qualifying,” Matt explained. “We made some changes to the set up which improved the car but we were pretty surprised to only qualify in 21st place.”
Overnight the team set upon the car to investigate the problem and try to find a solution for today’s race. A damper issue was diagnosed and once everything was working correctly the Audi topped the timesheets during morning warm up.
“That gave us real optimism for the race,” said Matt. “Unfortunately though the problem returned and we just had to race with it.”
Despite this the race got away to a good start. Mark had to take avoiding action when cars in front of him collided but he got through unscathed and set off to try to make up positions.
Just after Matt jumped in for his first stint the safety car came out on track. It was terrible timing for Matt as it put him a lap down and ultimately almost two laps down!
“There was a fair bit of confusion about who should have been waved past the safety car,” he explained. “I got a wave by but then when I came around and joined the pack again I realised the leader had also been given a wave by so it was very frustrating to find that something out of our control had really put the brakes on our fight back.”
The remainder of the race was straightforward with both Mark and then Matt completing a further stint each to bring the Audi to the chequered flag.
“We need to go away and work out what went wrong and learn from it,” said Matt. “On the positive side even with the problems we had we were quick in the race, just two tenths off the fastest lap time. When you consider we were two whole seconds off in qualifying this shows we made good progress.
“Next up for British GT is Snetterton,” he concluded. “I have won there the last two years running so we will arrive on top of our problems at a circuit where we know we are fast. If we can race the car to it’s full potential we will be able to compete for the top results.”
Before Matt heads to Snetterton on 15/16 June he races in the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone next weekend.