United Autosports left Brands Hatch with a sixth place result and wishing the race had been a little bit longer, having been closing in on the lead pack at the tail end of the two hour endurance test.
The Audi R8 LMS of Matt Bell and Mark Patterson started the race from 12th on the grid but managed to battle through the field and up to sixth before time ran out, moving the duo to third in the championship standings, just 16 points off the top spot.
“We had great pace in the end,” said Bell. “You are always in a difficult position at the start when you qualify mid pack. Mark did his usual job and made up positions near the end of his stint to hand over to me in P11. I was the quickest car out there at times and came from 11th to sixth after a good few battles on track. I was catching the group in front and a podium was definitely possible. I was getting held up near the end and that cost me the opportunity of pushing for a better result. The lesson learnt here is you have to get it right for qualifying. We have a great driver line up, a fantastic car and the team to win.”
The race didn’t go as well for the team’s two McLaren MP4-12Cs, however. Jody Firth put in a strong opening stint for the #24 machine, moving up to 6th despite starting from 28th on the grid, but after handing the car over to Glyn Geddie, a gearbox issue meant Geddie had to bring the car back in and end the race.
The second MP4-12C’s race ended in a rather more spectacular way, with a tyre blowout at 160mph spinning the car around and travelling fast into the barriers. Luckily driver Zak Brown walked away from the ‘biggest crash of his life’, but his race was over before being able to hand the car over to team-mate Alvaro Parente.
“We had a tyre blow out five minutes before I was due to hand over to Alvaro,” explained Brown. “I was doing around 160 mph so it was a big hit. I’ve got a bit of a headache, and the car is destroyed. These things happen. It was unfortunate that it happened on the fastest part of the circuit. I did get a hit early on in the race so my incident might have resulted from that. From a team perspective I’m pleased that the Audi finished in sixth place and that they can continue to fight for the BGT championship.”
“The Audi performed well and sixth was the best we could achieve on the day,” said United Autosports team owner, Richard Dean. “We had race winning pace but didn’t do the job in qualifying. It’s a good amount of points to add to our total. We are now third in the championship, so we will have to fight really hard to get back to the top during the last two rounds. But three races to go and lots of points available means we are still in with a good shot.”