13 July 2019 | Featured

Ambitious tyre strategy gives Moffat and Renault pole at The Bend

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.


Pos Num Driver Team Car Time Gap
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

LIVE STREAM ON NOW – Race 1 starts at 2pm AEST.