Dylan O’Keeffe has set a blistering pace in the opening practice session at Queensland Raceway today in the opening salvos of Round 4 of the carsales TCR Australia Series.
O’Keefe is desperate to re-boot his challenge for the carsales TCR Australia Series championship and proved it with the quickest lap.
He lapped his Alfa Romeo Giulietta in 1 minutes 14.0776 seconds to finish four-tenths ahead of series leader Will Brown in a Hyundai i30 N, with French raider Jean Karl Vernay third in an Audi RS3.
Russell Ingall entertained the field with a high-speed spin in his Audi as he clocked the seventh-quickest time.
“I knew I was going off so I keep my foot done flat until I saw Elvis,” Ingall jocked at the end of the session.
O’Keefe reported a trouble-free session in his Alfa but is playing the long game through the fourth leg of the inaugural TCR championship.
“I have to keep the championship alive. This is it, really,” says O’Keefe.
“Obviously I rolled out well and the car is quick. It’s well balanced so we are not chasing anything on set-up, but we just have to keep progressing.
“I’m fresh after racing in Super2 last weekend but this is the opposite to the Holden. I wish the Commodore had the grip of the Alfa.”
For Vernay, a highly-credentialled factory driver for Audi in Europe, third place was a baptism of fire as he has never raced in Australia until today.
“It’s a good start. I’m pressure sure we can improve,” he says.
“It’s interesting. It’s an old tyre this morning so it’s a bit hard to know where we are. The car is a bit different, too, from the one I drive in Europe.”
The only casualty for the morning session was Andre Heimgartner, who spent the session in the pits while his crew repaired a broken electrical connector to the fuel injection in his Holden Astra.
It was an ironic development, as Kelly Racing has switched him into the car after parking the Subaru WRX he drove in previous rounds until there is time for testing and development.
“We should be out this afternoon,” says Heimgartner.
Practice 2 will start at 1515 AEST.
Results: TCR Australia Practice 1, Queensland Raceway
|1||9||Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:14.0776|
|2||30||William Brown (Qld)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||1:14.4680||00.3904|
|3||4||Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:14.5516||00.4740|
|4||2||Aaron Cameron (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:14.6087||00.5311|
|5||34||James Moffat (Vic)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||1:14.6410||00.5634|
|6||50||Tony D’Alberto (Vic)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:14.7887||00.7111|
|7||100||Russell Ingall (Qld)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:14.7919||00.7143|
|8||24||John Martin (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:14.8250||00.7474|
|9||11||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||1:14.8803||00.8027|
|10||33||Chris Pither (NZ)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||1:15.1193||01.0417|
|11||8||Jason Bright (Vic)||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||1:15.2006||01.1230|
|12||62||Alex Rullo (WA)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||1:15.2313||01.1537|
|13||3||Leanne Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:15.3301||01.2525|
|14||7||Jordan Cox (NSW)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:15.4639||01.3863|
|15||35||Alexandra Whitley (Qld)||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||1:16.1138||02.0362|
|16||6||Molly Taylor (NSW)||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||1:16.2764||02.1988|
|17||38||Jordan Michels (NZ)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:16.6062||02.5286|