D’Alberto confident of bounce back in season second half
Reigning Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series Champion, Tony D’Alberto is confident he can regain some of last year’s form for the second of the season as the series heads to Queensland Raceway next month.
D’Alberto currently sits seventh on the overall standings with 280 points after a troubled start to the year. but is only one strong weekend away from reeling himself back into title contention.
After starting the 2023 season on the front foot with two second place finishes at AWC Race Tasmania, D’Alberto had a weekend to forget at Phillip Island – where a DNF, 13th and 11th place finish summed up a disastrous weekend for the Victorian.
Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton then provided a lifeline for D’Alberto, who left the circuit with a trifecta of sixth place finishes.
Despite the poor start, D’Alberto knows what he and the Honda Wall Racing team need to do to repeat last year’s efforts, while crediting the lift in competition we have seen so far this year.
“We have had a bit of a rough run over the last couple of rounds, especially at Phillip Island,” D’Alberto said.
“We need to try and get some momentum back on our side, bur we are definitely not out just yet, it hasn’t gone to plan.
“Last year, consistency and reliability are what won us the title. We weren’t always the quickest, but we finished all the races, and just kept punching out consistent finishes and kept building our points up all year.
“There are a lot of newer cars on the grid this year, there is lots of new competition out there and a lot of young guys with more experience now, so it is getting harder and harder.
“You had your real quick guys, but with some of the younger guys like Bailey Sweeny, Zac Soutar and Michael Clemente, it makes the competition that little bit harder.”
After a long break between rounds, the 37-year-old will now return to the circuit where he amassed a greatest result in his title-winning year, Queensland Raceway.
On a circuit where the Honda Civic thrived, D’Alberto finished ahead of Soutar to take victory in both races one and three respectively, setting himself up for a serious push for the title in the later stages of the season.
“Queensland last year was really kind to us, the Honda definitely enjoyed that circuit, so I’m looking forward to getting back there to try and get our title chase back on track,” D’Alberto added.
“In theory, I think we can repeat last year. There are a lot of variables, so you can’t be too confident but not a huge amount has changed on our side since last year, so we tend to roll out strongly.
“The new tyre might provide some challenges, but with what we learnt last year and how the car performed, we are going in full of confidence.”
While entering the second half of the season full of confidence, D’Alberto will use his knowledge gained from previous rounds to deal with the challenges the new tyre may present.
“The natural build of the new tyre forces you to set up a little bit differently, and that’s what went wrong in Phillip Island – we blew a tyre because we were a little bit aggressive on the setup,” D’Alberto explained.
“We need to try and find that balance point, going to Queensland we need to make sure we are looking after the left front as it cops a hiding there, so we don’t want a repeat of Phillip Island.”
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series is one of six national categories to feature in the Shannons SpeedSeries’ visit to Queensland Raceway in August and will take the track for the first time on Friday for two practice sessions.
Qualifying on Saturday morning will then decide the grid for the weekend’s opening race before the final two races take place on Sunday.
All three of the category’s races will feature in the Stan Sports coverage as well as every other round of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia, where fans can watch the action live, on-demand and ad-free.
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The fourth round of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia will take place at Queensland Raceway as part of the fifth round of the Shannons SpeedSeries on 11-13 August.