Tony Bates and John Martin have finished fourth in the opening round of the Australian Endurance Championship at Phillip Island after an uneventful race aboard the AFS/ Moveitnet/Local Roadways/C-Tech Laser/AFS/Bryant & Bryant Audi R8 today.
Starting seventh on the grid, Bates settled into a rhythm during the opening laps, before the race was suspended for around 20 minutes due to wall damage caused by an incident in the final corner.
Shortly after the restart, Bates pitted for his first compulsory stop, resuming just ahead of the Ryan Simpson/Fraser Ross McLaren.
“I had a good battle with Ryan and I was able to hold him out for quite a few laps, which was probably the highlight of the race for us,” Bates said.
Bates pitted for a second time on lap 35 to hand the car over to John Martin, who worked his way up to fourth at the finish.
“We didn’t quite have the outright pace to fight for a spot on the podium today, but our strategy worked well and we were able to stay in touch with the lead pack,” Bates said.
“The red flag ate into a lot of my driving time, but it didn’t hurt us from a strategic point of view because it was very early in the race.
“Considering he hadn’t raced an Audi before, John did a good job of dialling himself into the car; he and I worked well together, and we finished the race without a mark on the car – from that perspective, it was a good day.”
Bates now has 11 weeks before his next racing event; importantly, the long break will give him time to recover from neck surgery
“I’ve needed the neck operation for a while, so I’ll be using the time before the next Audi R8 LMS Cup round in Suzuka to ensure I’m fully rehabilitated, fit and ready for action in Japan,” Bates concluded.
Qualifying – 7th
Race – 4th