Tony Bates has pushed through some physical discomfort, to record another top-five finish in Round 8 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup in Suzuka yesterday.
In contrast to Friday’s torrentially wet weather, the Saturday qualifying session and race were held in dry conditions. Bates qualified fifth, and overcame the distraction of a sore neck – a result of his recent operation – to hold his position through to the chequered flag.
When asked for his overall thoughts on the weekend, the Moveitnet/Local Roadways/C-Tech Laser/AFS/Bryant & Bryant driver was philosophical.
“I’m not one to make excuses, but the combination of a new track, variable weather conditions and the driver not being in peak physical condition meant we didn’t quite have the ultimate pace to fight for victory this weekend,” Bates said.
“There were glimpses of potential – I set the fastest third sector of the race today – and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of racing at one of the world’s most famous circuits. Having driven it, I can now see why Suzuka is so highly-regarded by drivers all over the world, and I can’t wait to race there again in the future.
“Despite all the challenges, I also came away from the weekend without any incidents, and without a mark on the car.”
With the next round of the Audi R8 LMS Cup not until late November at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit, Bates said he’ll be maximising the break to ensure he returns to full fitness.
“There’s a long break now, and it will be a good opportunity for me to complete my rehabilitation, build up my neck muscles and ensure I’m in prime shape for Sepang,” he said.