Tony Bates is predicting this weekend’s Audi R8 LMS Cup round to be decided by the barest of margins, after two tightly-contested practice sessions at the Adelaide Parklands Circuit today.
In the first session, Bates was second-fastest by just 0.1s, but he responded with the fastest time in the second session aboard his KFC/Moveitnet/Local Roadways/AFS/Bryant & Bryant Audi R8.
“It might have only been practice, but I think everyone was already pushing pretty hard today,” Bates said.
“All the front-runners seem to have strengths and weaknesses in different parts of the track, and tomorrow when we get into qualifying, the level of intensity will lift even further.
“The first session was typical of a street circuit; initially, it was very dusty and the grip levels were not high, but the track improved considerably as the session progressed.
“Because of the hot conditions, the times were actually a fraction slower in the second session, but I felt really confident in the car and know there’s time to be found tomorrow, especially under brakes.
“We are seriously baking inside the cars – the cabin temperature was around 55 degrees today, and it will be around 60 tomorrow and Saturday, so driver fitness will definitely be a factor.”
This weekend, there have been some modifications to the circuit, with the outside walls at Turns 6 and 7 moved closer to the exit kerbs. Bates said it has required an adjustment in driving style.
“The approach lines are different, especially for Turn 7, and after racing here for so many years I’ve had to think about it, and adapt accordingly,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to going through some data overnight and coming out swinging tomorrow – it’s going to be full-on!” Bates concluded.
The final practice session will be held at 11:05 Adelaide time tomorrow morning, with the first qualifying session at 3:35pm.