Adelaide Australian GT: Bates wins season opener
Tony Bates took a comfortable win to kick off the 2017 Australian GT Championship season in Adelaide.
The Eggleston Mercedes driver qualified at the back end of the Top 10, but jumped to the front during the compulsory stops due to his relatively low penalty time of 50 seconds.
Once in front Bates couldn’t be stopped, cruising to a seven-second win ahead of Lamborghini driver Roger Lago and series debutant Pete Major.
Liam Talbot finished fourth in the Walkinshaw Porsche, with Tony Walls ensuring the top five were all solo drivers.
The best of the two-driver crews was the Supabarn Audi of Ash Walsh and James Koundouris. Walsh actually lead the second half of the first stint, but the Audi came back to pack after being held for 1m22s during the stops.
Mark Griffith was seventh in the Hogs Breath Mercedes, ahead of Steve McLaughlan in the Audi and the McLaren of Come Ledogar and Fraser Ross, which also had a lot do after the stops following Ross running right at the front in the first stint.
Audi factory driver Kelvin van der Linde was spectacularly quick in the early stages of the race, leading the field away from pole. But his race was undone 13 minutes in when van der Linde was slapped with a drive-through for weaving behind the Safety Car during an early restart, he and Geoff Emery recovering to 13th.
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