A smartly-judged Safety Car restart was the defining moment in Tony Bates’ superb race victory in the second Audi R8 LMS Cup race today – his 12th win from 14 races at the Adelaide street circuit.
Determined to bounce back from his non-finish yesterday, Bates slotted into second behind polesitter Yasser Shahin after the opening lap, and kept the pressure on his rival until a Safety Car was deployed mid-race.
When the race resumed, Bates timed his restart to perfection and carried enough momentum through the first chicane to set up a decisive move on Shahin into Turn 4.
From there, Bates was never headed, setting the fastest race lap of the weekend as he stormed to the win.
“In the first half of the race, I was keeping the pressure on Yasser and I knew I was faster than him, but it was hard to get close enough to overtake due to the aerodynamic turbulence,” Bates said.
“When the Safety Car came out, I sensed my opportunity at the restart and launched an attack at Turn 4 – I was right on the braking threshold and it was a fully-committed move, but I wasn’t interested in settling for second.
“After that, my lap times were a true reflection of our speed with clear track, and demonstrated the great job the Melbourne Performance Centre team have done with setting up the Moveitnet/C-Tech Laser Audi R8.”
Bates said the race victory was an important psychological boost after yesterday’s disappointment.
“In the past, whenever I’ve had setbacks, I’ve always been able to bounce back and today I did so in the best-possible way,” Bates said.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence heading into the Australian GT Championship, knowing I have such a strong package, and I can’t wait for the opening round at the Australian Grand Prix in three weeks.”
Bates said he thoroughly enjoyed his participation in the Audi R8 LMS Cup event and has not ruled out competing in some of the international rounds in the future.
“It’s a good series – very professionally-run – and some of the overseas drivers were very quick once they had learned the Adelaide circuit. I’d love to test myself against them on their home turf,” Bates concluded.
Audi R8 LMS Cup Round Results
Qualifying 1 – 1st
Qualifying 2 – 2nd
Race 1 – DNF
Race 2 – 1st
Overall – 4th