Victory in Race 3 has handed Tony Bates the lead of the 2017 CAMS Australian GT Championship after the opening round of the season on the streets on Adelaide.

Bates opened his account on Friday with his maiden race win before sealing a narrow victory in the final race of the weekend from Roger Lago today.

A red flag in the early stages transformed the race into a 20-minute sprint to the line, with Bates assuming control following his pit stop.

The Moveitnet/CFS driver stopped shortly after the window opened, while Lago remained on circuit in the JBS Australia entry for another two laps.

As Lago accelerated out of the pit lane following his stop, Bates powered by aboard his Eggleston Motorsport run Mercedes-AMG GT3 to take the lead.

For the next seven laps the pair ran nose to tail, with between the two leaders as Bates drove an inch perfect race to keep Lago at bay.

“I didn’t come into the category to think about championships, I really wanted to measure myself against different drivers,” said Bates, who holds a nine point advantage over Lago in to CAMS Australian GT Championship points score.

“Roger and Peter are definitely at the top of the Am category,” he added. “They race hard and they race fair.

“I had a good look at them race yesterday and it was really good racing; I think all three of us can race competitively it’s going to be a fun season.”

“The Lamborghini is a great car here,” said Lago, who ended the weekend in second overall.

“The safety car probably cost me today because at the start I had a good gap,” he added.

“If I could have got out in front of Tony after the pit stop I might have held him off, but it wasn’t to be so now we just concentrate on the Grand Prix and try to go faster!”

Last year’s race winner Tony Walls recorded his best result of the weekend with a measured drive to third place in the Objective Racing McLaren 650S GT3, while Max Twigg crossed the line in fifth place for the Australian Engineered Flooring Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Peter Major’s strong weekend continued, ending the race in fourth place to finish third overall for the round in the PM Motorsport Lamborghini R-EX.

Liam Talbot had an eventful race to sixth place, including becoming involved in a late-race scuffle that also involved Mark Griffith (Hog’s Breath Café/Griffith Corporation) and Greg Taylor (GT Motorsport).

An early incident for Tim Miles saw the Hungry Jacks backed Lamborghini R-EX make contact with the wall at the sweeping Turn 8, leaving Dean Canto nowhere to go in the Pirelli/Trofeo Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan.

Wheel to wheel contact between the two cars threw Canto skywards while the field took avoiding action as the two cars came to a rest.

Both drivers climbed free of their cars, while Kelvin van der Linde’s luckless weekend continued as the Valvoline Audi R8 LMS picked up a puncture and damage to the right-hand.

The race was suspended as the cars were retrieved, restarting with a little over 20-minutes remaining on the clock.

The pit window was adjusted on account of the restarted race, helping Tony Walls climb from eleventh prior to his stop to third.

At the front of the race there was nothing between Bates and Lago, who recorded near identical fastest laps – just 0.005s split the pairs best efforts – around the Adelaide Parklands circuit.

There was a late scare however, as a missed gear on approach to the chequered flag saw Lago draw alongside, Bates clinging on by little more than a tenth of a second for his second victory of the weekend.

The results saw Bates gain the honour of recording Mercedes its first global GT3 victory of 2017 and has now won 11 races out of his last 12 starts in Adelaide in all categories.

After the opening event Bates leads the 2017 CAMS Australian GT Championship with 189 points, ahead of Lago with 180, while Bates also heads the Gold Driver Cup, a competition for drivers aged over 40-years of age who compete solo.

The 2017 CAMS Australian GT Championship now heads to Melbourne for round two of the season at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix (March 23-26).

RACE 3 RESULTS

Pos Competitor/Team Driver Vehicle Laps Time
1 Moveitnet/AFS Tony Bates Mercedes-AMG GT3 18 39:37.244
2 JBS Australia Roger Lago Lamborghini R-EX 18 39:37.384
3 Objective Racing Tony Walls McLaren 650S GT3 18 39:49.799
4 PM Motorsport Peter Major Lamborghini R-EX 18 39:57.454
5 Australian Engineered Flooring Max Twigg Mercedes-AMG GT3 18 40:02.894
6 Mega Racing Liam Talbot Porsche 911 GT3-R 18 40:03.627
7 Triffid.Bar.Venue Michael Hovey/Daniel Jilesen Lamborghini R-EX 18 40:06.323
8 Hogs Breath Café/Griffith Corporation Mark Griffith Mercedes-AMG GT3 18 40:09.135
9 Valvoline Geoff Emery/Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS 18 40:13.827
10 Ah Apartments Ash Samadi Audi R8 LMS 18 40:13.834
11 Tekno Autosports Fraser Ross/Come Ledogar McLaren 650S GT3 18 40:14.021
12 Bank SA Brenton Griguol/Tim Macrow Lamborghini R-EX 18 40:20.171
13 Hallmarc Construction Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS 18 40:34.767
14 AMAC Motorsport Andrew Macpherson Porsche 997 GT3-R 18 40:43.612
15 Veloce Motorsport/ULX110 Keith Wong Porsche GT3 Cup Car 18 40:47.267
16 Supabarn Supermarkets James Koundouris/Ash Walsh Audi R8 LMS 18 40:49.752
17 Shoal/Thomson Geer Lawyers Michael O’Donnell Porsche GT3 Cup Car 18 40:56.428
18 Scott Taylor Motorsport Scott Taylor/Craig Baird Mercedes-AMG GT3 17 39:37.953
19 BMW Team SRM Steve Richards/James Bergmuller BMW M6 GT3 17 40:39.463
20 GT Motorsport Greg Taylor/Nathan Antunes Audi R8 LMS 13 33:04.386
21 Hungry Jacks Tim Miles Lamborghini R-EX 1 01:32.631
22 Pirelli/Trofeo Motorsport Jim Manolios/Dean Canto Lamborghini Huracan GT3 1 01:33.098