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.”
|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|