A massive tyre gamble paid off for James Moffat as he claimed pole position for the first of three races in the carsales TCR Australia Series at Tailem Bend.
Mixing slick front tyres with heavily-treaded wet rears gave Moffat the grip he needed on for a late lunge with his Renault Megane, snatching top spot from early pace-setter Tony D’Alberto in a Honda Civic Type R.
Championship contender Dylan O’Keefe gave himself the edge over series leader Will Brown when he grabbled third on the grid with his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while his rival struggled and was only 16th.
Moffat’s mighty effort was payback for the team from Garry Rogers Motorsport, who worked overnight to repair his badly damaged Renault after he had been rear-ended at 140km/h by Brown in the wet opening practice in South Australia.
It also gave him the first pole position for Renault in global TCR racing.
“We had nothing to lose. The car was nowhere in the wet so we gambled on the tyres and it worked,” Moffat reported.
“I was able to snag the last lap as the track dried. And it’s great payback for the crew after all their work.”
D’Alberto was massively disappointed after topping the times under the dying seconds, but admitted he had waited too long to switch from wet tyres on a drying track.
“It took too long to get the rear tyre temperature up. Even time I tried to lean on the rears it let go,” D’Alberto said.
“We left it too long to put slicks on. With another lap we might have had enough temperature.
“Still, it’s a good result. And we were on top for a long time.”
O’Keefe was surprised to run third and also conceded that he stayed on wets for too long.
“I forgot how long it takes to get the rear tyres up to temperature on these cars,” he said.
“Moff just out-smarted us all.”
But, after falling back in the championship battle after a massive crash eliminated him from the final race in the previous round at Phillip Island, he was happy to be at the front with Brown at the rear in his Hyundai.
“I’m surprised I got third. But it’s good that Will is only 16th, so hopefully I can get some points back.”
Garth Tander was best of the rest in fourth place with his Audi RS3, while Russell Ingall qualified 12th in his similar car.
|1||34||James Moffat (Vic)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||2:06.0847|
|2||50||Tony D’Alberto (Vic)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||2:07.2499||01.1652|
|3||9||Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||2:07.9934||01.9087|
|4||4||Garth Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||2:08.1935||02.1088|
|5||2||Aaron Cameron (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Volkswagen Golf GTI||2:08.2550||02.1703|
|6||11||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||2:08.2682||02.1835|
|7||24||John Martin (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||2:08.3853||02.3006|
|8||38||Jordan Cox (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||2:08.4566||02.3719|
|9||8||Jason Bright (Vic)||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||2:08.8402||02.7555|
|10||62||Alex Rullo (WA)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||2:08.8701||02.7854|
|11||7||Jimmy Vernon (NSW)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||2:08.8841||02.7994|
|12||100||Russell Ingall (Qld)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||2:09.4270||03.3423|
|13||33||Chris Pither (NZ)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||2:09.4495||03.3648|
|14||3||Leanne Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||2:09.5361||03.4514|
|15||777||Andre Heimgartner (NZ)||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||2:09.5380||03.4533|
|16||30||William Brown (Qld)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||2:09.7424||03.6577|
|17||37||Chelsea Angelo (Vic)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||2:10.2278||04.1431|
|18||6||Molly Taylor (NSW)||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||2:12.5003||06.4156|
|19||35||Alexandra Whitley (Qld)||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||2:12.5813||06.4966|
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