Tony Bates and Daniel Gaunt have stormed to a fourth-place finish in Round 2 of the Australian GT Championship at Tailem Bend today, improving from ninth on the grid with impeccable driving and exemplary pit strategy.
Bates started the KFC/Moveitnet/C-Tech Laser/B&B/Local Roadways Audi R8, spending the first stint in eighth position.
“We elected to pit quite early for our first stop and I was able to use the clear track to jump a couple of spots after the first round of stops,” Bates said.
In the second stint, Bates’ lap times steadily improved as he worked his way up to sixth position.
“It was one of the most enjoyable stints I’ve had in a race car, I felt really comfortable and was able to maintain a consistent pace which was on par with the front-runners,” Bates said.
“The car was looking after its tyres well, so it gradually became quicker as the fuel load burned down.”
The team’s second pit stop came on lap 37, with Gaunt taking the helm and running as high as third outright. He pitted for the final time on lap 54, the team fitting a set of green tyres for the sprint home.
He emerged in sixth, but was able to overtake Jake Fouracre and Duvashen Padayachee in the closing laps to seal fourth at the finish.
After a patchy opening round at the Australian Grand Prix, Bates was pleased to be back inside the top five.
“The track is awesome – I love street circuits, but this is the best permanent track I’ve raced on,” he said.
“Qualifying didn’t quite go according to plan, but the race ran like clockwork – I knew I did the best job I could in the first stint, and Dan brought it home very strongly.
“I’d like to thank the Melbourne Performance Centre team for all their efforts, and especially our engineer Adam De Borre – he was very easy to work with, and his strategic decisions were excellent.
“I’m looking forward to the next round of the championship at Sandown, a track I’ve always enjoyed.”
Round 3 of the Australian GT Championship will be held at Sandown, 12-13 May.
Qualifying 1 – 8th
Qualifying 2 – 9th
Race – 4th
- Max Twigg/Tony D’Alberto – 404
- Liam Talbot/John Martin – 402
- Peter Hackett – 328
- Fraser Ross – 325
- Steven Richards – 299
- Jaie Robson – 270
- Tony Bates/Daniel Gaunt – 267
- Scott Taylor/Craig Baird – 261
- Geoff Emery – 260
- Michael Almond – 235