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Sydney TCR: D'Alberto becomes first Aussie series polesitter

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Sydney TCR: D'Alberto becomes first Aussie series polesitter
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May 18, 2019, 1:58 AM

Factory-backed Honda driver Tony D'Alberto is the first TCR Australia polesitter after a late effort to bag top spot at Sydney Motorsport Park.

It was an all-Hyundai affair for much of the session, Will Brown and Michael Almond trading fastest times in the early stages.

Nathan Morcom was right in the battle for pole as well, making it an all Hyundai top three as the half-hour session ticked down to its final 10 minutes.

It was at that point the Hyundai dominance was broken, with Alfa driver Dylan O'Keeffe going quickest with a 1m34.401s, to that point the fastest lap of the weekend.

Five minutes later Jason Bright took over at the top, the former Bathurst 1000 winner setting a 1m34.294s.

It was a timely lap, too, coming just seconds before the session was red flagged to retrieve James Moffat's stranded Renault from the outside of Turn 2.

The session was restarted with four minutes to go, giving drivers one last crack at pole.

And that was all D'Alberto needed, the DJR Team Penske enduro driver using a second set of greens to storm from the back end of the Top 10 to a history-making pole position with a 1m34.143s.

"We had to put another set of tyres at the end there," said D'Alberto.

"We just didn't maximise it at the start, we had a couple of little problems with the car which hurt out run early on, so I needed to have another go at the end."

The lap also makes him the first-ever TCR Australia championship leader, having bagged two points for pole along with the $1000 prize.

There were few other meaningful improvements following the red flag, which means Bright will start from the outside of the front row.

O'Keeffe ended up third, followed by the early pacesetters Brown and Almond.

Honda driver John Martin snuck into that pack of Hyundais to qualify sixth ahead of Morcom, with factory Audi GT ace Rik Breukers eighth in the Melbourne Performance Centre RS3.

Andre Heimgartner was the only Kelly Racing driver in the Top 10, the Kiwi qualifying ninth despite complaining of persistent downshift problems with his Subaru.

KR's two Astras were 14th (Alex Rullo) and 15th (Chelsea Angelo), with Molly Taylor 16th in the other Subaru.

Moffat was 10th fastest for the session, but causing the red flag meant he lost his best time and was demoted to 12th.

That means Garry Rogers Motorsport Alfa driver Jimmy Vernon will start 10th.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1  Tony D’Alberto (VIC)   Honda Civic Type R   1:34.1437  
2  Jason Bright (VIC)     Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:34.2948 0:00.1511
3  Dylan O’Keeffe (VIC)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:34.4014 0:00.2577
4  Will Brown (QLD)       Hyundai I30N         1:34.6301 0:00.4864
5  Michael Almond (SA)    Hyundai I30N         1:34.7151 0:00.5714
6  John Martin (NSW)      Honda Civic Type R   1:34.7249 0:00.5812
7  Nathan Morcom (NSW)    Hyundai I30N         1:34.7488 0:00.6051
8  Rik Breukers (NED)     Audi RS 3            1:34.8571 0:00.7134
9  Andre Heimgartner (NZ) Subaru WRX STI       1:35.0107 0:00.8670
10 Jimmy Vernon (NSW)     Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:35.3176 0:01.1739
11 Aaron Cameron (VIC)    Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:35.4349 0:01.2912
12 James Moffat (VIC)     Renault Magane RS    1:35.9180 0:01.7743
13 Chris Pither (NZ)      Renault Magane RS    1:35.9849 0:01.8412
14 Alex Rullo (WA)        Holden Astra         1:36.0682 0:01.9245
15 Chelsea Angelo (VIC)   Holden Astra         1:37.3596 0:03.2159
16 Molly Taylor (NSW)     Subaru WRX STI       1:37.4570 0:03.3133
17 Alexandra Whitley (QLD) Volkswagen Golf GTI   1:37.7959  0:03.6522

 

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Series TCR , TCR Australia
Event Sydney
Author Andrew van Leeuwen