Race of Survival for Bates at Slippery Suzuka

Tony Bates has survived a day of wet and wild weather at Japan’s Suzuka circuit to finish fifth in Round 7 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup yesterday.

After qualifying the Moveitnet/Local Roadways/C-Tech Laser/AFS/Bryant & Bryant Audi R8 in fifth position, Bates’ approach to the 30-minute race was one of self-preservation, as he maintained his position in the top five from start to finish.

The conditions early in the day were diabolical, forcing race organisers to postpone one of the two scheduled qualifying sessions until today, and heavy rain was still falling at the circuit when the race commenced late in the afternoon.

“The Suzuka track has certainly thrown everything at me this weekend – boiling hot temperatures on Thursday, and torrential rain yesterday,” Bates said.

“It was absolutely bucketing down in qualifying, and it didn’t improve much for the race.

“From my point of view, on a track where I had never raced before, there was no point in taking any unnecessary risks – it was all about staying on the circuit, avoiding mistakes and making sure I brought the car home in one piece.

“The good news is that the second qualifying session was rescheduled to today, so I can have another crack. Our dry-weather practice pace was very competitive, so hopefully the conditions will be more favourable.” The second qualifying session has been rescheduled to 11:15am (12:15pm Australian Eastern Time) today, with Round 8 commencing at 3:00pm (4:00pm Australian Eastern Time).