16 November 2019 | Featured

Dylan O’Keeffe takes Alfa Romeo to pole at The Bend

Dylan O’Keefe survived a near-miss on his fastest lap to claim pole position for the first carsales TCR Australia Series heat in the final leg of the championship at Tailem Bend.

The Alfa Giulietta driver scored his second pole of the championship, following his first at Phillip Island, despite an encounter with Chelsea Angelo in a Holden Astra during a torrid 30-minute qualifying session.

“I could have been quicker. Chelsea got in the way,” O’Keefe reports after his qualifying run.

“She ruined my lap, so then I ruined hers. Still, it’s a good result.

“I’m happy. And I know it will be a good race car.”

O’Keefe’s quickest time was comprehensively quicker than the TCR cars managed at their first visit to The Bend, clocking 1 minute 55.6206 to finish ahead of series champion Will Brown in his Hyundai i30N, then Tony D’Alberto in a Honda Civic and Aaron Cameron in a Volkswagen Golf GTI.

“The car was slow yesterday, but we got a new engine map overnight from Germany. That really helped with the top end,” reports Brown.

“I’m quite happy and I know we can race from here.”

The quick-fire qualifying session was packed with incidents, as half the 20-car field left the track at some time and James Moffat was sidelined with a mechanical problem.

D’Alberto reports excessive understeer in his Honda Civic and a troubled qualifying run.

“Not my best. It was almost impossible to do a good lap,” he says.

“But the time are bloody fast, too. That was a tough session.”

Cameron, who is battling to finish second in the series, ran strongly through the session but also made a mistake.

“It’s one that got away. I was pretty confident. But I got traffic on my last lap and it cost me around two-tenths,” he says.

But he was happier than Chris Pither, who twice fell off the road while running top-three pace in his Renault Megan RS.

“I didn’t maximise the potential. The first spin was my fault and the second time I had a brake problem,” Pither says.

“But it’s good for the confidence to know the car is quick and it should be racy.”


Qualifying Results

Pos Num Team  Driver                  Car Time
1 9  Ashley Seward Motorsport  Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta  1:55.6206
2 30  HMO Customer Racing  Will Brown (Qld)   Hyundai I30N  1:55.7022
3 50  Wall Racing  Tony D’Alberto (Vic)   Honda Civic Type R  1:55.8574
4 2  Melbourne Performance Centre  Aaron Cameron (Vic)   Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:55.9765
5 11  HMO Customer Racing  Nathan Morcom (NSW)   Hyundai I30N  1:56.0975
6 777  Kelly Racing  Andre Heimgartner (NZ)   Opel Astra  1:56.4925
7 33  Garry Rogers Motorsport  Chris Pither (NZ)   Renault Megane RS  1:56.7122
8 7  Garry Rogers Motorsport  Jordan Cox (NSW)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta  1:56.7606
9 24  Wall Racing  John Martin (NSW)   Honda Civic Type R  1:57.0799
10 3  Melbourne Performance Centre  Iain McDougall (Vic)   Audi RS 3  1:57.1208
11 8  Taskforce / Melb.Perf.Centre  Jason Bright (Vic)   Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:57.1683
12 97  Melbourne Performance Centre  Liam McAdam (Qld)   Audi RS 3  1:57.3439
13 64  Garage 1  Tim Brook (NSW)   Cupra SEAT Leon  1:57.4500
14 10  Ashley Seward Motorsport  James Allen (Vic)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta  1:57.5452
15 100  Melbourne Performance Centre  Russell Ingall (Qld)   Audi RS 3  1:57.6149
16 62  Kelly Racing  Chelsea Angelo (Vic)   Opel Astra  1:57.6683
17 35  Melbourne Performance Centre  Alexandra Whitley (Qld)   Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:58.2228
18 27  Milldun Motorsport  Barton Mawer (NSW)   Subaru WRX STi  1:58.8108
19 19  Milldun Motorsport  Matthew Simmons (Qld)   Subaru WRX STi  1:59.3812
20 34  Garry Rogers Motorsport  James Moffat (Vic)   Renault Megane RS  1:59.8698