An intensive daily rehabilitation program has given Tony Bates the best-possible chance of returning to peak fitness for the final two races of the Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit this weekend.
The AFS/Moveitnet/Local Roadways/C-Tech Laser/Bryant & Bryant bizarrely suffered a hamstring injury during the final Australian GT Championship round at Sandown just over a week ago, and has been undertaking rigorous therapy to accelerate the healing process.
The rehabilitation activities have included the injection of platelet-rich plasma into the injured muscle, daily sessions in a hyperbaric chamber, and ocean swimming sessions.
“I still can’t believe my hamstring tore, it was a freak occurrence and not the sort of thing that normally happens to anyone in a race car,” Bates said.
“But I’ve made the best of the situation, and I’ve been fortunate to have the support of some well-credentialled people including the staff at Oxymed Australia in South Yarra, who are experienced in administering hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
“I’ve also consulted with some experienced sports doctors who are familiar with these types of injuries – this particular muscle tear is something that occurs quite frequently in other sports such as AFL and rugby league.”
Bates will fly to Malaysia on Wednesday, and will test the Audi R8 at the Sepang circuit on Thursday, ahead of practice and qualifying on Friday.
“The test sessions on Thursday will be absolutely critical – as well as ensuring my fitness is adequate, it’s also paramount for me to learn the track as quickly as I can.
“Just like the other Asian circuits I’ve raced at, the Sepang layout looks quite complex, with a mixture of fast and slow corners, and some technical undulations and camber changes.
“Looking at the weather forecast, there’s a high chance of rain over the course of the weekend, which will make things interesting as well.
“I’m really motivated to put my best foot forward and finish the season on a high note this weekend – we scored a race win in Adelaide to start the year, but I’d love finish with a victory on foreign soil.”
The race format again consists of a pair of 30-minute races; the first race will be held under lights on Saturday evening (early hours of Sunday morning Australian time).
“Because of the time difference, my Australian fans will have to stay up late on Saturday night, but it will be well worth it for the spectacular sight of our cars on track under lights,” Bates concluded.