D’ALBERTO FAREWELLS TITLE WINNING HONDA IN STYLE
Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto has farewelled his title-winning Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR in style after picking up his first race win of the year at Sandown International Raceway earlier this month.
The fifth round of Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series marked the final outing for the reigning series winner in his 2022 title-winning car, with the 37-year-old set to debut the new FL5 model at the first of two Kumho TCR World Tour rounds at Race Sydney in November.
An impressive fourth place in a competitive qualifying session set the tone early on Saturday, before the Victorian was then able to take advantage of a fast start in Race 1 to take the lead and control the tempo through to the chequered flag to claim his first race win of 2023.
D’Alberto was stoked to be able to grab one last win in a car that has brought him so much success and looked forward to getting behind the wheel of the new model later this year.
“It was a really good round for us, it was obviously the last round in the current car, so it was nice to get another win and send it off with style,” D’Alberto said.
“We weren’t sure how we were going to go at Sandown because it was so wet there last year, but the car was right up there, and we managed to get a really good start in that first race and control the tempo from there.
“The car’s been good to me. I won a title with it, and it’s been super reliable. The team has developed the car quite a bit in the last couple of years to suit me a little bit better.
“With the new car coming on its going to be an evolution of what we currently have, TCR is obviously a parity category, so it isn’t going to come in and dominate – but we are hoping there are those little improvements in all areas.
“Those little one-percenters are what we need to just get that little bit more outright pace.”
A podium finish in the third and final race of the weekend ensured D’Alberto would claim the final step on the outright podium, while the results also see him now sit fourth in the overall standings – with 84 points between he and series leader, Bailey Sweeny.
Wall Racing will have a test day before the upcoming round at Sydney Motorsport Park where the reigning champion will have the opportunity to pilot the new Civic for the very first time.
Assuming all goes well, D’Alberto plans on taking an aggressive approach into the final two rounds of the year and looked forward to sharing the field with the World Tour drivers.
“We are going into Race Sydney in full attack mode, we are fourth in the title race and it’s still in our grasp if we have some really good rounds, so that’s the focus right now,” D’Alberto explained.
“We will have a test before the round and get as much information as we can from JAS Motorsport and do as much homework as we can, but we are going there to win.
“We will be aggressive. Testing will be really helpful as I haven’t tested all year so it’s going to be nice to get out there and learn the new car.
“Until I get to drive the car, I’m unsure of where it is going to be performance wise, my teammates will be at the next test day and that will be a good indicator to see how much of an improved package it is.
“It will be all the more interesting with the World Tour joining the field, the competition is going to be super high, and it will be a big challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will next feature at Race Sydney on 3-4 November and it will be the first of two Kumho TCR World Tour rounds down under.