4 August 2019 | Featured

Dylan O’Keeffe seals perfect day at Queensland Raceway

Dylan O’Keefe re-ignited the race for the inaugural carsales TCR Australia Series championship with a near-faultless run through three hot contests at Queensland Raceway.

Two wins and a second place gave O’Keefe a hefty points haul with his Alfa Romeo Giulietta as championship leader Will Brown failed to fire, allowing him to more than halve the Hyundai driver’s advantage at the top of the points table.

Brown arrived on the Northern swing with a comfortable 125-point advantage but left with only a 55-point buffer and O’Keefe on top form heading to the next leg, the fifth of seven, at Winton in rural Victoria.

Veteran Russell Ingall was the surprise packet for the weekend, taking three podiums with his Audi RS3 and hoping to extend his guest-driver spot through to the end of the championship. A third and two seconds showed he is adjusting to the challenge of front-wheel drive turbo TCR cars after spending most of his career in V8 Supercars.

The first-race winner at QR on Saturday, French Audi raider JK Vernay, was ruled out on Sunday morning and his place was taken at the last minute by youngster Aaron Seton. He learned a lot but was near the back in his two starts, as Tony D’Alberto got onto the podium for the first time since the season began at Sydney Motorsport Park with third place in the final race.

“That was fun. We had good speed all weekend,” O’Keefe said as he packed his trophies.

“Will had to have a bad weekend sometime and we were able to maximise. I’m excited for the rest of the year.”

Brown was downcast after a string of brake dramas in his Hyundai that meant he only managed 10th and 8th in the Sunday sprints.

He was eventually bottled-up behind Jordan Cox in an Alfa towards the end of the final race.

“I wanted him to hurry up. I was tempted to hit him at the end. I was getting really frustrated by the brake problems,” Brown said.

But he is not panicking about the championship and believes his Hyundai will be quick on the three-meeting final swing through Winton, Sandown and The Bend in Adelaide.

“It’s alright. I’ve still got a good buffer,” he said.

“I’m not bothered. I still set the fastest lap in the final race.”

There were plenty of casualties through the weekend, although there was none of the biffing-and-banging dramas of earlier races.

Even John Martin, who was a crash magnet at earlier events, managed a trouble-free weekend although he spent most of the weekend in the mid-pack with his Honda Civic Type R and was only sixth in the final race.

“It was alright. Not great. We struggled a little bit in race 2 and when we had plenty of pace in the last race we overheated the front tyres,” said Martin.

James Moffat, who was third in the championship heading to QR, dropped to fifth with car troubles in his Renault Megane RS and then a flat tyre in the final run.

“I’ve had better days at racetracks, but I’ve had worse. The right-rear was going soft, and then it just went down. So I had to stop and change it,”Moffat said.

The carsales TCR Australia Series continues at Winton in Victoria from August 30-September 1.

Results, Race 3

Pos Num Driver Team Car Laps Time
    9 Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)    Ashley Seward Motorsport       Alfa Romeo Giulietta 21 26:29.0232
  100 Russell Ingall (Qld)    Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            21 26:30.2305
   50 Tony D’Alberto (Vic)    Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   21 26:31.2641
   11 Nathan Morcom (NSW)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         21 26:31.7994
    2 Aaron Cameron (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre   Volkswagen Golf GTI  21 26:32.1951
   24 John Martin (NSW)       Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   21 26:32.7397
    7 Jordan Cox (NSW)        Garry Rogers Motorsport        Alfa Romeo Giulietta 21 26:37.3092
   30 William Brown (Qld)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         21 26:37.6515
    3 Leanne Tander (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            21 26:40.2307
10    8 Jason Bright (Vic)      Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Volkswagon Golf GTI  21 26:45.4155
11    4 Aaron Seton (Qld)       Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            21 26:47.9314
12   38 Jordan Michels (NZ)     Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   21 26:48.5782
13   62 Alex Rullo (WA)         Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         21 26:56.7471
14   35 Alexandra Whitley (Qld) Alliance Autosport             Volkswagon Golf GTI  21 27:02.2086
15   34 James Moffat (Vic)      Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    20 27:45.2361
DNF   6 Molly Taylor (NSW)      Kelly Racing                   Subaru WRX STi        8 10:26.7270

Standings after Round 4

Pos Driver Points 
1  William Brown     408
2  Dylan O’Keeffe    353
3  Tony D’Alberto    311
4  Nathan Morcom     292
5  James Moffat      284
6  Aaron Cameron     275
7  John Martin       244
8  Alex Rullo        208
9  Jason Bright      190
10 Russell Ingall    187
11 Garth Tander      176
12 Jordan Cox        169
13 Leanne Tander     168
14 Chris Pither      157
15 Alexandra Whitley 124
16 Molly Taylor      101
17 Andre Heimgartner  91
18 Hamish Ribartis    83
19 Jimmy Vernon       77
20 Michael Almond     74
21 Chelsea Angelo     56
22 Jordan Michels     45
23 Jean-Karl Vernay   42
24 Rik Breukers       40