- Anglo-American team enjoy best BGT race meeting of the season
- Bell & Dockerill record a brace of sixth place finishes at Snetterton
- “New boy” Dockerill impresses on United Autosports debut
United Autosports achieved two sixth place finishes in the fifth and sixth rounds respectively of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Snetterton yesterday (Sunday 22 June).
Despite Matt Bell posting the second fastest time in the raceday warm-up, the crew then changed the Audi’s gearbox in record time allowing new recruit Iain Dockerill to line-up on the eighth row to make his UA race debut after just one brief test at Rockingham to acclimatize to the R8 LMS ultra.
Dockerill’s race pace continued to improve throughout his stint before pitting to Bell on 26mins in 15th place. Matt moved up to 10th with 15mins to run and ultimately eighth place with two laps remaining around the 2.96-mile Norfolk venue – less than one second behind the sixth-placed car. Two cars later received penalties from the organisers moving the #23 Audi into sixth in the final classification.
Almost half the qualifying session for race two was lost on Saturday due to a red flag but Bell nevertheless claimed a third row start after just two flying laps – despite being blocked on his quickest lap that saw Matt set the fastest outright middle sector time.
Bell made up a place at the start of the second race but a first corner accident caused an hour long stoppage, Matt sixth at the re-start of the shortened 55mins race that began behind the Safety Car for the opening 10mins. He remained sixth for most of his stint, amongst a six-car dice for second place, before handing over to Dockerill, in fifth, with 22mins remaining.
Iain resumed fourth after a great pit-stop from the United Autosports team, Dockerill impressively resisting intense pressure from a “train” of four-cars driven by more experienced drivers but succumbed on the penultimate lap dropping two positions.
The stunning Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium stages the next two BGT races on Saturday 12 July.
#23 Credit 4 Cars / Henderson– Audi R8 LMS ultra
Matt Bell (GB). Age: 25. Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear, England. Lives: Barningham nr Richmond, North Yorkshire, England.
“Considering our grid position for the opening race, ultimately getting sixth was as much as we could have expected. For much of my stint I was the fastest car on the track but catching a car is one thing and overtaking is another. Having not finished the previous three races through no fault of our own, I was not going to make a 50-50 move.
“I made a great start in race two and got up to fifth but unfortunately it was red flagged which was frustrating. With the slip streaming effect of the cars ahead after the re-start, I couldn’t take advantage of the Audi’s superior aerodynamics. Just like in race one, I was faster than the cars ahead but could not make a pass. Iain did a brilliant job keeping many much more experienced drivers behind him.”
Iain Dockerill (GB). Age 46. Born: Rochford, Essex. Lives: Benfleet, Essex.
“Overall I’m very pleased with what we achieved this weekend. I was happy to play myself in gently in the opening race. It was pretty busy out there on the opening laps with a lot of dirt on the track after cars had run wide. I managed to stay out of trouble and bring the Audi home at the end of my stint for Matt.
“Matt handed the Audi over to me in a great position in the second race. I was under a lot of pressure for what seemed like a long time until the chequered flag. I coped with it pretty well and managed to stave off the guys behind until a couple of laps from the finish.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“Achieving two top-six finishes with Iain only having sat in the Audi for the first time last Thursday is a good, encouraging performance this weekend. Changing the gearbox before race one was a bit of a drama but the team once again excelled.
“Matt showed his normal, excellent pace throughout the weekend and was unlucky not to get a front row start in his group. The crew also did a great pit-stop in getting Iain back out in fourth place in the second race.”
June 22 Snetterton (Race 1, 60mins, Race 2, 55mins)
Rd 5 Qualifying: 15th Dockerill, 1m 53.610s. Weather: Bright/dry.
Race: 6th, ++34.031secs P1. Weather: Cloudy/dry.
Rd 6 Qualifying: 6th Bell, 1m 49.708s. Weather: Bright/dry.
Race: 6th, +33.155secs P1. Weather: Cloudy/dry.