Tony Bates will start sixth in Race 9 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit after making solid improvements in practice and qualifying yesterday.

By the end of the 15-minute qualifying session, the AFS/Moveitnet/Local Roadways/C-Tech Laser/Bryant & Bryant driver had gained a second compared to his best lap time from Thursday’s test sessions, and said there is still more to come.

“Because it’s such a long and complex circuit, the Sepang track is a challenging one to learn, but I’m happy with the improvements I’ve made since arriving here,” Bates said.

Bates is expecting Malaysia’s hot and humid conditions to test the physical fitness of the R8 LMS Cup competitors throughout the two 30-minute races.

“There’s no doubt the races will be demanding, especially on Sunday afternoon when we will be on track during the hottest part of the day,” Bates said.

“Tonight’s race will be cooler, and I’m also looking forward to racing under lights – it will be a unique experience from inside the car, and spectacular for everyone who’s watching.”

Bates is also refusing to be distracted by his injured hamstring.

“While the healing process is not totally complete, the rehabilitation program I undertook before coming to Malaysia has paid dividends and my leg is holding up okay so far,” he said.

“Racing wheel-to-wheel with other cars always brings out the best in my driving, so hopefully I can make up some places tonight,” Bates concluded.

Race 9 of the Audi R8 LMS Cup commences at 1:00 Sunday morning Australian time.

Live streaming will be available HERE.