Tony Bates is feeling enthusiastic after a positive opening day at the Australian Grand Prix for Round 2 of the Australian GT Championship, narrowly missing pole position in the day’s second qualifying session.
The first qualifying session included a mixture of Pro and Am drivers, and Bates took little time adapting to the track, immediately punching out some fast times.
He qualified the Moveitnet/C-Tech Laser/Transtex/ Bryant & Bryant Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 a creditable 12th outright in the 29-car field.
“My Mercedes was excellent in that session and we only needed to find 0.4s to move well inside the top 10,” Bates said.
In the second session, for Am drivers only, Bates qualified fourth, less than 0.2s away from pole.
“Again, I was on target to improve on my final lap and the data showed it would have been good enough for pole, but I made a minor mistake at turn 3.
“I’m still very happy with fourth and the times are extremely close, so it’s going to be a cracking battle in Race 2 tomorrow!”
In today’s opening 25-minute race, for Pro and Am drivers, Bates was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision at the first corner and fell to 18th, but fought his way through the field and finished in 14th position.
“It was a very enjoyable race, and encouraging that we had the speed to make up positions after the early incident,” Bates said.
“Overall, it was a good day – we probably could have had some slightly better results, but the Eggleston Motorsport team has prepared a beautiful package which has made me feel very confident for the rest of the weekend.”
Race 2, for Am drivers only, will be held at 10:45 tomorrow morning.