Dylan O’Keeffe scores his maiden TCR Australia race win

June 8, 2019

Dylan O’Keeffe scores his maiden TCR Australia race win

Dylan O’Keefe drove away from the crashes and carnage to score his maiden carsales TCR Australia Series win at Phillip Island.

The Alfa Romeo driver romped away from the grid and only had to manage his gap to the pack, avoiding a challenge during a pair of Safety Car periods, to finish ahead of Will Brown in a Hyundai i30 N and James Moffat in a Renault Megane.

The finishing order was no reflection of the battles in the pack, as Brown went from second to 16th with a Turn 2 mishap and then drove back through the field to overtake Moffat within sight of the chequered flag.

Tony D’Alberto looked like a contender on the first lap but his Honda Civic Type R faded during the race, while Garth Tander was the action man as he finished fifth after a series of touch-ups in his Audi RS3 including contact with Jason Bright’s Volkswagen Golf.

“It’s been a great start to the weekend. The car had lots of pace,” said O’Keefe.

“The toughest thing was managing the re-starts. Luckily the car had lots of torque in second gear and I could go flat through the last corner onto the straight.”
Brown was alongside the Giulietta on the grid but dropped the car into the gravel after less than half a lap.

“I won’t do that again. I went for the hero move and came up a zero,” he laughed.

“There was a bit of rubbing, but everyone is leaving a bit of room.”

Moffat was happy to be third in one of only four Meganes racing anywhere in the TCR world, but admitted he is still lacking speed and had no answer to Brown’s charge in the Hyundai.

“How good was that? We ducked and weaved, then weaved and ducked. But we missed a bit of carnage,” he said.

There was lively racing through the field for only the fourth TCR race in Australia, with old adversaries Tander and Bright getting too close at times.

“There was a bit going on, but we got through it. Getting hit at Turn 1 is not a lot of fun,” Tander said.

“We were faster, but in the wrong spots. It was a little bit frustrating, going backwards and forwards.”

Andre Heimgartner looked racey from the start but got tagged by Bright, was involved in a multi-car pile-up that triggered a Safety Car, and finished in a Subaru WRX that needs new left-side panels.

“It was looking already … but it is what it is. I’ve seen better racing in Formula Vee,” an angry Heimgartner said.

Among the non-finishers were Molly Taylor in the second Subaru, whose engine stopped, and Chelsea Angelo, who had brake failure in her Holden Astra.

Race 2 and 3 of carsales TCR Australia Series will return tomorrow, with the live broadcast on SBS starting at 1pm AEST.

Results, Race 1.

   9  Ashley Seward Motorsport      Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta1327:19.6614
  30  HMO Customer Racing           William Brown (Qld)    Hyundai i30N        1327:24.6433
  34  Garry Rogers Motorsport       James Moffat (Vic)     Renault Megane RS   1327:25.1912
  50  Wall Racing                   Tony D’Alberto (Vic)   Honda Civic Type R  1327:25.4262
   4  Melbourne Performance Centre  Garth Tander (Vic)     Audi RS 3           1327:25.7606
  22  Melbourne Performance Centre  Hamish Ribartis (Vic)  Audi RS 3           1327:25.9902
  62  Kelly Racing                  Alex Rullo (WA)        Holden Astra        1327:28.1409
  33  Garry Rogers Motorsport       Chris Pither (NZ)      Renault Megane RS   1327:29.2676
   3  Melbourne Performance Centre  Leanne Tander (Vic)    Audi RS 3           1327:29.5377
10 777  Kelly Racing                  Andre Heimgartner (NZ) Subaru WRX STi      1327:31.0155
11  35  Alliance Autosport            Alexandra Whitley (Qld)Volkswagon Golf GTI 1327:38.5079
12   2  Melbourne Performance Centre  Aaron Cameron (Vic)    Volkswagen Golf GTI 1327:44.8503
13  24  Wall Racing                   John Martin (NSW)      Honda Civic Type R  1228:22.6048
DNF 37  Kelly Racing                  Chelsea Angelo (Vic)   Holden Astra        1022:38.9375
DNF  6  Kelly Racing                  Molly Taylor (NSW)     Subaru WRX STi       921:01.0172
DNF  8  Taskforce / Alliance AutosportJason Bright (Vic)     Volkswagon Golf GTI  511:07.2387
DNF  7  Garry Rogers Motorsport       Jimmy Vernon (NSW)     Alfa Romeo Giulietta 511:07.7909
DNF 11  HMO Customer Racing           Nathan Morcom (NSW)    Hyundai i30N