Tony D’Alberto dominates opening race in Queensland to take maiden victory
It was a dominating performance from Wall Racing Honda Australia’s Tony D’Alberto in securing his maiden Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series victory at Queensland Raceway.
D’Alberto converted pole to the win as the privateer Honda of Zac Soutar ghosted the factory Civic Type R TCR as AWC MPC Racing’s Jay Hanson was unable to challenge in his Audi, but rounded out the podium.
It was a delayed start due to the Valvoline GRM Racing Renault Megane RS TCR of Kody Garland experiencing a power steering, then a clutch problem and stopped short of his grid slot.
The LMCT+ Racing GRM Renault of James Moffat was experiencing a boost fault and elected to pit ahead of the start.
Both Hondas on the front row had a ripping start as behind there was chaos as HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny was tapped exiting Turn 1 and turned into the infield to recover after the second corner.
Brown was third until he speared off in the LIQUI MOLY Team MPC Audi RS3 LMS TCR at Turn 3 allowing Hanson in his newer model to take up the chase of the two Hondas in front.
Progressing through the field, Aaron Cameron was fourth in the Valvoline Team GRM Peugeot 308 TCR ahead of Luke King leading the Hyundai charge in his Moutai/ZIP PAY i30 N TCR.
Ben Bargwanna driving the Burson Auto Parts Peugeot was enjoying a string run in fifth as he valiantly defended from Nathan Morcom as contact followed through Turn 4 and 5, but it ended in tears as the two contacted following the brake pedal going to the floor in the 308 TCR at Turn 6.
A safety car period followed as D’Alberto led Soutar, Hanson, Cameron, King, Sweeny, Swyftx GRm’s Jordan Cox, Honda privateer Michael Clemente, new Audi driver Lachlan Mineeff and HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan held the valuable 10th place, which turns into pole for Race 2.
Buchan had a fight on his hands when the race turned green as Brown and Schaeffler GRM Peugeot driver Dylan O’Keeffe were right behind.
Upon the restart on lap 12 of 20, D’Alberto and Soutar moved away as Hanson had Cameron for company around the outside of Turn 3, but it failed to come off.
In the battle for 10th, Buchan was holding on albeit at Turn 6 Brown moved down the inside of both the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai and Mineeff, who as a result dropped to 11th.
At the front, D’Alberto and Soutar continued to hold sway as Hanson was unable to make in roads o the two Civic Type R TCRs.
The battle for sixth was heating up between King, Cox, Clemente and Brown although the positions remained the same it was a close finish.
However, the day was D’Alberto’s as he secured his first Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series victory and extended his title lead to 50-points as Soutar completed a Honda 1-2 in his privateer Civic Type R TCR.
Behind Cameron was lead Peugeot in fourth ahead of the recovering Sweeny, King, Cox, Clemente, Brown and Buchan.
Just missing the pole for Race 2 by 0.395s was Mineeff as Caruso, O’Keeffe and McDougall completed the field.
Tomorrow’s second Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series race featuring the inverted top 10 grid begins at 12:10pm AEST live on Stan Sport.
The SpeedSeries at Queensland Raceway will feature seven racing categories and 12 hours of live and ad-break free coverage on Stan Sport across Saturday and Sunday.
The coverage will be broadcast on Stan Sport between 11am-5pm on Sunday.
New customers can sign up to a Stan Sport 7-day free trial. Sign up now to watch all of the SpeedSeries action, plus the IndyCar Series, World Rally and more motorsport action >> http://www.stan.com.au/
International viewers can watch the Queensland Raceway action via motorsport.tv
To be trackside this weekend, CLICK HERE for tickets.