15 November 2019 | Featured

Andre Heimgartner sets the standard in Practice 1

Andre Heimgartner set the standard for the carsales TCR Australia series with the quickest lap in opening practice at Tailem Bend.

The series return to the South Australian circuit has already seen the quickest cars dipping under the record mark set in early July, with Heimgartner lapping his Holden Astra in 1 minute 57.3180 seconds to edge out Tony D’Alberto in a Honda Civic Type R.

“It’s a good start. We’re still tuning the car,” says Heimgartner.

“There is definitely more in it, so we have to extract it.”

D’Alberto was more than 30 seconds ahead of the pack for much of the first session, until his time was scrubbed for a short-cut.

“I was testing the braking zone and got in a bit hot. So I decided to cut across,” laughs D’Alberto.

“It was still a good start but I’ve got some work to do. And that session was about getting my head back around the TCR car.”

Dylan O’Keefe clocked the third-quickest time in his Alfa Romeo but others in the 21-car field were in trouble.

The highly-anticipated Peugeot 308 factory racer didn’t turn a wheel after the team discovered a fault in the car’s wiring loom. The French engineers are working on the gremlin for the race weekend.

Tim Brook, making the first TCR Australia start with a a Cupra from Spain, also had his time cut short and could only manage 12th.

“We only did five laps. There is a fuel pressure issue,” says Brooke.

“It’s coming up with a warning on the dashboard. We didn’t want to risk it.”

James Moffat also stopped early with a holed radiator in his Renault Megane RS, while Will Brown was the surprise of the session when the champion could only manage 10th in his Hyundai i30 N.

“I don’t know what’s wrong, to be honest,” says Brown.

“We’re a fair way off. And I’ve been off the road a few times.

“We think it might be something with the tyres. There is no point in making changes to the set-up when we’re 1.4 seconds off the pace, because it must be something big.”