Bates and Gaunt Set for Challenging Charge

Tony Bates and Daniel Gaunt are looking forward to the challenge of charging through the field in tomorrow’s Laser Plumbing and Electrical Hampton Downs 500 after an unfortunate end to today’s proceedings.

The Australian Endurance Championship contenders were innocently bundled out of the qualifying race, when the KFC/Moveitnet/C-Tech Laser/B&B/Local Roadways Audi R8 was struck from the rear in the very first corner.

The impact broke the Audi’s driveshaft, ending Bates and Gaunt’s day on the spot, and relegating them to a rear-of-grid start for tomorrow’s 500km race.

“It’s extremely disappointing that some drivers can’t judge their braking markers at the start of a race,” Bates said.

“However, the good news is the qualifying race wasn’t worth that many points, and the Audi Sport Customer Racing crew have already repaired the car.

“We’re still focused on the Australian Endurance Championship title, and this has only made us even more determined to put in a fighting performance in the main event.”

Earlier in the day, Bates and Gaunt ended up sixth on combined times from the two pre-qualifying sessions.

“We steadily improved the car today, and even though we missed most of the qualifying race, we still have a warm-up session tomorrow morning to validate our setup decisions,” Bates said.

“It’s a long race – there will be incidents, drama and lots of different strategic permutations. Hopefully we’ve used up our bad luck today and can do something spectacular tomorrow.”

The warm-up session will be held at 9:55 tomorrow morning, with the race scheduled to commence at 2:05pm (12:05 Australian Eastern Time).