Mat Simmons has taken victory in an intense wildcard qualifying race ahead of Round 3 of the carsales ARG eSport Cup at Watkins Glen this evening.
The former GT Academy International winner and Milldun Motorsport TCR driver won a close four-way fight, securing one of three automatic entries into tomorrow night’s third round at the famous American road course.
Simmons will be joined by Team Valvoline GRM representative Luca Giacomin and Track Tec Racing’s Tom Alexander tomorrow’s two races.
The inclusion of these drivers ensures a competitive grid of 43 cars.
Giacomin qualified on pole in front of a 12 car field, with all entrants mandated to be aligned to an Australian Racing Group category or event.
Simmons, Giacomin, Alexander and Bathurst 6 Hour entrant Lachlan Mineeff battled hard for the top three places, and in the end, the quartet were separated by just 0.6s.
Trac Tec Racing’s Rowan Shepherd rounded out the top five.
Simmons, who dropped as low as fourth at the start, was pleased to take the win and is looking forward to getting back into the main race tomorrow night.
“We had a good battle. It was a close race, and really, really intense,” said Simmons.
“I kept the pressure on Luca, and when I got behind him, I was able to make a clean pass.
“The finish was unbelievable. Lots of side by side battles, and I think there’s the potential for some awesome racing tomorrow. There’s also the potential for some big crashes too, so everyone is going to need to be aware of their space, but I think it’s going to be a heap of fun.”
Round 3 will be broadcast live and free on the TCR Australia Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as other affiliate partners and pages. The broadcast starts at 8pm AEST, hosted by Aaron Noonan and TCR Australia Honda driver Tony D’Alberto.