Bates wins Aus GT opener/van der Linde penalised

Tony Bates

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.

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Nathan Antunes crashed at Turn 1

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

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