2 August 2019 | Featured

Dylan O’Keeffe puts Alfa Romeo on top after Practice 1

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

Pos Num Driver Team Car Time Gap
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