Tony Bates has celebrated his debut as an Australian GT full-timer with a maiden victory in Race 1 at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
Audi factory star Kelvin van der Linde cruelled himself with a Safety Car infringement while leading, while Nathan Antunes and Tony Quinn suffered separate hits with the wall.
Van der Linde led the field away from pole position but there was immediate carnage when Quinn’s McLaren turned right through Senna Chicane, clipping Max Twigg (#8 Mercedes) and finishing in the wall.
With Quinn managing to clear the #7 Darrell Lea entry from the circuit, van der Linde put three seconds on the field on the opening lap.
He broke the lap record of the man who he replaced at Jamec Pem, Christopher Mies, on Lap 4, and had the #74 Audi five seconds clear when second-placed Nathan Antunes lost control of his R8 and hit the wall exiting Senna Chicane.
Van der Linde set about gapping Ash Walsh when the green flags flew on Lap 7, but was forced to serve a drive-through shortly after for weaving after the Safety Car had pulled away, dropping to 12th.
Walsh continued to lead in James Koundouris’ Supabarn Audi until the compulsory pit stop window, after which time Tony Bates (#24 Mercedes) took control of the race by virtue of a short CPS time (50s).
Roger Lago (#23 Lamborghini) shook off the threat of Peter Major (#14 Lamborghini) for second shortly after the pit stops cycle, but could not make any serious inroads on Bates’ seven-second lead.
The front of the field remained largely unchanged as the 38-minute race drew to a conclusion, with Bates, Lago, and Major making up the podium, ahead of Liam Talbot (#911 Porsche) and Tony Walls (#11 McLaren).
Koundouris/Walsh, Mark Griffith (#19 Mercedes), Steve McLaughlan (#75 Audi), Fraser Ross/Come Ledogar (#59 McLaren), and Craig Baird/Scott Traylor (#222 Mercedes) completed the top ten.
Geoff Emery gained a place in the #74 Audi to finish 13th, after van der Linde had handed the car over while on track to lower the lap record again.
Steven Richards/James Bergmuller were 16th after the four-time Bathurst 1000 winner started from pit lane due to pre-race issues with the #100 BMW.
Australian GT returns to the track for another 38-minute race tomorrow from 0910 ACDT (0940 AEDT).
Results: Australian GT Championship Race 1, Clipsal 500
|1||Moveitnet/AFS||Tony Bates (VIC)||Mercedes AMG GTS GT3||27||39:37.3662|
|2||JBS Australia||Roger Lago (Qld)||Lamborghini R-EX||27||39:44.6317|
|3||PM Motorsport||Peter Major (WA)||Lamborghini R-EX||27||39:46.7745|
|4||Mega Racing||Liam Talbot (Qld)||Porsche 911 GT3-R||27||39:54.2401|
|5||Objective Racing||Tony Walls (NSW)||McLaren 650S GT3||27||40:10.5938|
|6||Supabarn Supermarkets||J.Koundouris/A.Walsh||Audi R8 LMS||27||40:13.0985|
|7||Hogs Breath Cafe/Griffith Co||Mark Griffith (Qld)||Mercedes Benz AMG GT||27||40:14.4865|
|8||Tekno||F.Ross/C.Ledogar||McLaren 650S GT3||27||40:14.7702|
|9||Valvoline||Steven McLaughlan (Vic)||Audi R8 LMS||27||40:16.2453|
|10||Scott Taylor Motorsport||S.Taylor/C.Baird||Mercedes Benz AMG GT||27||40:17.0579|
|11||Interlloy M Motorsport||J.McMillan/G.Wood||Lamborghini R-EX||27||40:20.6288|
|12||Bank SA||B.Griguol/T.Macrow||Lamborghini R-EX||27||40:38.4528|
|13||Valvoline||K.van der Linde/G.Emery||Audi R8 LMS||27||40:38.8296|
|14||HHH Triffid Racing||M.Hovey/D.Jilesen||Lamborghini R-EX||27||40:40.4942|
|15||Ah Apartments||Ash Samadi (VIC)||Audi R8 LMS||27||40:44.4592|
|16||BMW Team SRM||S.Richards/J.Bergmuller||BMW M6 GT3||27||40:57.3071|
|17||AMAC Motorsport||Andrew MacPherson (NSW)||Porsche 997 GT3-R||27||41:01.0238|
|18||Hallmarc Constructions||Marc Cini (Vic)||Audi R8 LMS||26||39:53.7015|
|19||Veloce Motorsport – ULX110||Keith Wong (SA)||Porsche GT3 Cup||26||40:15.3286|
|20||Shoal/Thomson Geer Lawyers||Michael O’Donnell (SA)||Porsche GT3 Cup||26||40:20.0128|
|21||Australian Engineered Flooring||Max Twigg (Vic)||Mercedes Benz AMG GT||26||40:26.0263|
|22||Haemokinesis/Pire||Jim Manolios (Vic)||Lamborghini Huracan||25||40:33.4329|
|23||Hungry Jacks||Tim Miles (NSW)||Lamborghini R-EX||24||39:59.9065|
|DNF||GT Motorsport||Nathan Antunes (NSW)||Audi R8 LMS||4||5:30.5406|
|DNF||Darrell Lea||Tony Quinn (Qld)||McLaren 650s GT3|