Last-start winner John Martin tamed his wayward Honda to go fastest after the first day of the carsales TCR Australia Series meeting at Queensland Raceway.
Despite battling tail-end slides in his Civic Type R, Martin had the speed to trump Dylan O’Keefe and French visitor Jean-Karl Vernay in the second of twin 30-minute practice sessions.
His margin was just 0.0978 seconds as he lapped in 1 minute 13.9201 seconds, undercutting O’Keefe’s benchmark lap of 1:14.0776 with his Alfa Giulietta in the opening practice session.
“It’s so loose on the way into the corners. It’s going to be hard to race like that, but we’ll make some changes tomorrow,” says Martin.
“It’s early days yet. So far, so good. The bullshit stops tomorrow.”
Most drivers reported difficult cornering on the first visit by the front-wheel drive turbo TCR cars to QR, with veterans Russell Ingall and Jason Bright both running off the road in turn one.
“I took some wing out and off it went,” Bright said of the spin in his Volkswagen Golf.
Championship leader Will Brown was solid in fourth spot with his Hyundai i30N but knows he needs to improve tomorrow to fend off his championship rival, O’Keefe, who had a better first day.
“It’s not great but P4 is ok for now,” says Brown.
For Vernay, who is on his first trip to Australia, the opening day was all about learning a new car and a new track in a new timezone.
“I was over-driving a bit. But I think we are looking ok for tomorrow,” he says.
“We are improving everything and it will get better. For now it is a bit snappy.”
Further back in the field, Martin’s Honda team mate Tony D’Alberto managed eighth-quickest time while Andre Heimgartner managed 12th after sitting out the first session while his crew repaired a faulty electrical connector to the fuel injection in his Holden Astra.
Practice 2, Queensland Raceway
|1||24||John Martin (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:13.9201|
|2||9||Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:14.0179||00.0978|
|3||4||Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:14.0650||00.1449|
|4||30||William Brown (Qld)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||1:14.4669||00.5468|
|5||7||Jordan Cox (NSW)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:14.4703||00.5502|
|6||100||Russell Ingall (Qld)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:14.5426||00.6225|
|7||11||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||1:14.6188||00.6987|
|8||50||Tony D’Alberto (Vic)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:14.6506||00.7305|
|9||2||Aaron Cameron (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:14.7626||00.8425|
|10||62||Alex Rullo (WA)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||1:14.9116||00.9915|
|11||8||Jason Bright (Vic)||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||1:14.9928||01.0727|
|12||777||Andre Heimgartner (NZ)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||1:15.0626||01.1425|
|13||34||James Moffat (Vic)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||1:15.1115||01.1914|
|14||3||Leanne Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||1:15.4601||01.5400|
|15||33||Chris Pither (NZ)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||1:15.6423||01.7222|
|16||38||Jordan Michels (NZ)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||1:15.8693||01.9492|
|17||35||Alexandra Whitley (Qld)||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||1:16.4509||02.5308|
|18||6||Molly Taylor (NSW)||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||1:16.5687||02.6486|