Published on March 3rd, 2019 | by Amirul Mukminin


Tony Bates Bags Pole in Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup Season Opener

The 2019 Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup season got underway with qualifying for Saturday’s opening round one. With ambient temperatures hitting 40 degrees centigrade and track temperatures even higher, it was experienced Australian GT campaigner Tony Bates who sealed pole position with a lap of 1:21.574 around the 3.219km Adelaide Street Circuit.

It was an extremely close session as the top seven GT3 Cup drivers were all separated by less than one second with the Asian and Australian competitors neck-and-neck in terms of pace.

The electrifying atmosphere of the South Australian city proved infectious and, in front of more than 40,000 fans, the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup drivers delivered with a session full of thrills, spills and tumbling lap times at the top of the time sheets.

Bates will be joined by Singha Plan-B by Absolute Racing’s Bhurit Bhirombhakdi. The Thai driver, the Cup’s GT3 championship runner-up last season, came within a whisker of snatching the top spot until he got two wheels on the grass on the way in to turn 14, spinning into the run-off on his final run. Nevertheless, Bhirombhakdi’s best lap was less than four tenths of a second off pole, good enough to secure him a place alongside Bates on the front row.

Thai Super Series regular and former Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup Am champion Daniel Bilski too pulled off an eye-catching lap, rocketing up the order in the closing minutes of the session to lock in P3 for Saturday’s race. Alongside him on the second row will be reigning Cup champion Andrew Haryanto, the Indonesian lightning fast in the first and third sectors but struggling to replicate his pace in the tricky mid-sector, which includes the notorious turn eight.

Sealing the first GT4 pole of the season was Absolute Racing’s Mark Williamson, the Australian pipping Indonesia’s Anderson Tanoto, the reigning GT4 Cup champion, and Ryan Liu of China to pole.

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