05/08/2012 - The stunning McLaren MP4-12C of Charles Bateman and
Matt Bell were the class of the field as they recorded victory with
their new car in its maiden race in the Avon Tyres British GT
Championship at Snetterton.
The United Autosports pairing started from fourth on the grid
and had to work hard in the early stages of the race, battling with
the Trackspeed Porsche of David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook, the
Beechdean Aston Martin of Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam and the
Motorbase Porsche of Daniele Perfetti and Michael Caine. However,
once they found a way into the lead Bateman and Bell produced a
faultless drive to take the flag from Perfetti and Caine.
The predicted showers stayed away from the Norfolk circuit and
the drivers were welcomed by hot sunny conditions, perfect for
producing great racing. Pole sitter Ashburn managed to hold on to
his lead as the field burst into Riches for the first time, but he
was pushed hard by the Beechdean Aston Martin and Batemen's
McLaren. Before the end of the lap the lead changed as Howard dived
down the inside at Murrays and the McLaren followed suit, leaving
Ashburn in third just ahead of the Motorbase entry of Perfetti.
However, Howard's lead was short-lived as Bateman surged past on
lap two and he immediately began to build a lead. Elsewhere, the
BMW Z4 of Alasdair McCaig and Ollie Millroy shot up to fifth from
ninth in just three laps.
Another car on the move was the RJN Nissan GTR of Jann
Mardenborough and Alex Buncombe and with Mardenborough at the
wheel, he soon latched onto the back of the pack chasing the
McLaren. In the GT4 Class Jody Fannin and Warren Hughes built up a
comfortable lead after five laps.
With Bateman pulling away at the front, all eyes turned to an
intriguing five car battle for second. Howard had been holding the
position before a spin at Montreal saw him fall to seventh gifting
Ashburn the spot. His Trackspeed Porsche was soon under attack from
Perfetti in third but an over exuberant move from the Swiss driver
saw him fall behind Mardenborough's Nissan and McCaig's BMW. The
Nissan was the next car to challenge Ashburn and unfortunately the
pair made contact which saw Ashburn drop to ninth and Mardenborugh
fall to sixth. Subsequent mechanical problems for the Nissan saw
them come into the pits to retire.
The top five except the leader Bateman soon came into the pits
just minutes after the pit window opened along with the Duncan
Cameron/Matt Griffin Ferrari. The 458 exited the pits first
securing a net second spot with the Motorbase car in third. Two
laps later the McLaren came in and a slick stop saw them come out
and regain the lead from Griffin in the Ferrari, but this was
short-lived after the Mtech squad were handed a stop and go
penalty. The pair took the penalty and rejoined the race in
Despite the best efforts from Newmarket's Caine in the Motorbase
car, he was unable to reel in the McLaren, which allowed Bell to
guide the car home to the flag by a comfortable 16 second margin,
with Jonny Adam recovering the Aston Martin to third. In the GT4
class, problems for early leaders Fannin and Hughes allowed Lee
Mowle and George Murrells to grab victory.
The second and final Avon Tyres British GT race at Snetterton
will begin at 16:45pm.
Avon Tyres British GT Championship Race 1 Result Top
1. Charles Bateman/Matt Bell, United Autosports, McLaren MP4-12C
2. Daniele Perfetti/Michael Caine, Motorbase, Porsche 997 RSR
3. Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam, Beechdean, Aston Martin Vantage GT3
4. Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin, Mtech, Ferrari 458 +32.347s
5. Steve Tandy/Joe Osborne, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 RSR,
6. David Ashburn/Richard Westbrook, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 RSR.
7. Jon Minshaw/Tim Harvey, Trackspeed, Porsche 997 RSR,
8. Alasdair McCaig/Ollie Millroy, Ecurie Ecosse, +49.464s
9. Marco Attard/Hari Prozcyk, Rino's Leipert Motorsport, +1
10. John Dhillon/Aaron Scott, Scuderia Vittoria, +1 lap