A Honda was the car to have at wintry Tailem Bend today as Tony D’Alberto led a Civic sweep through three of the top four places on the opening day of the carsales TCR Australia Series meeting.
Only Jason Bright, winner of the first race in the fledgling series, was able to crack the code on a treacherously slick track as he drove his Volkswagen Golf to the second-quickest time.
D’Alberto’s benchmark time was 2 minutes 10:500 seconds, with Bright on 10:5544 ahead of John Martin and Jordan Cox in Civics on 10:7476 and 10:7528.
The second session was run without James Moffat, whose Renault Megane was still being repaired after a massive first-session hit by Will Brown. The Hyundai driver was fined $250 for the incident and could only manage the 15th fastest time in the i30N he uses to lead the championship table.
“I’m struggling,” Brown said.
“I just cannot get it turn anywhere. As for the fine, I was happy to pay it. I would have been happy to pay $1000, because it was definitely my fault.”
While he is hoping for finer weather through the weekend, after a day where the temperature barely topped 10 degrees with a series of squally showers, the Honda squad from Wall Racing were much happier.
“That was good. I’m happy,” D’Alberto said of his time.
“But it got trickier and trickier as the session went on. There was dirt and muck everywhere.”
There were plenty of spinners and the same slick braking zone that caught Brown in the first session resulted in most of the field aborting their braking at least once.
“That session was really tricky. It was very interesting and super challenging,” said Dylan O’Keefe, who clocked the fifth-quickest time in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta he has driven to second in the series standings.
Nineteen cars took part in the second session as the crew from Garry Rogers Motorsport rushed to complete repairs to Moffat’s Megane ahead of qualifying and racing on Saturday.
“It’s cost at least $15,000. By the time you add up the rear hatch, and all the other panels that got damaged,” Rogers reported.
“Even I’ve been on the tools.”
Garth Tander was the quickest of the high-profile guest drivers, taking sixth-fastest time in his Audi RS3, while Russell Ingall could only manage 15th on his first day of TCR with a similar Audi.
RESULTS, PRACTICE 2
|1||50||Tony D’Alberto (Vic)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||2:10.5002|
|2||8||Jason Bright (Vic)||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||2:10.5544||00.0542|
|3||24||John Martin (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||2:10.7467||00.2465|
|4||38||Jordan Cox (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||2:10.7528||00.2526|
|5||9||Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||2:10.8433||00.3431|
|6||4||Garth Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||2:10.8744||00.3742|
|7||777||Andre Heimgartner (NZ)||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||2:11.5487||01.0485|
|8||7||Jimmy Vernon (NSW)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||2:11.6404||01.1402|
|9||11||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||2:11.9318||01.4316|
|10||2||Aaron Cameron (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Volkswagen Golf GTI||2:11.9651||01.4649|
|11||100||Russell Ingall (Qld)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||2:12.3555||01.8553|
|12||33||Chris Pither (NZ)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||2:12.3891||01.8889|
|13||62||Alex Rullo (WA)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||2:12.6929||02.1927|
|14||3||Leanne Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||2:12.7566||02.2564|
|15||30||William Brown (Qld)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||2:12.8408||02.3406|
|16||35||Alexandra Whitley (Qld)||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||2:15.0101||04.5099|
|17||6||Molly Taylor (NSW)||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||2:15.5143||05.0141|
|18||37||Chelsea Angelo (Vic)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||2:15.9486||05.4484|