Hyundai fastest in maiden TCR Australia session

Michael Almond

Hyundai emerged on top in the maiden TCR Australia practice session as the new touring car series burst into life at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Michael Almond set the pace, posting a 1:35.23s effort in the 30 minute practice behind the wheel of the sole Garth Walden Racing Australia prepared Hyundai i30N entry.

The Porsche Carrera Cup driver was on form from the outset, occupying the top spot inside the first 10 minutes where he remained until the chequered flag.

Almond was challenged by the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai of Nathan Morcom, who fired in a late effort to steal second, albeit over 0.4s adrift.

Wall Racing’s John Martin was left to settle for third having held second spot for much of the session.

HMO Customer Racing ensured there were three Hyundais in the top five as Super2 racer Will Brown slotted into fourth ahead of Rik Breukers in the Melbourne Performance Centre Audi.

The Dutchman, competing in a one-off round, has the most TCR experience in the 17 car field and quickly adapted to the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit.

Tony D’Alberto was sixth in the second Wall Racing Honda, less than a tenth shy of Breukers.

Super2 driver Dylan O’Keeffe was the top Alfa Romeo driver in seventh.

Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Renault pairing of Chris Pither and James Moffat logged only nine laps each with Pither the quickest of the duo in eighth.

The top 10 was rounded out by Jason Bright in the Alliance Autosport Golf GTI and GRM Alfa Romeo driver Jimmy Vernon.

Andre Heimgartner, who was quick early on, was the fastest of the four Kelly Racing entries in 12th ahead of Alex Rullo in 13th, Chelsea Angelo in 14th and rally star Molly Taylor in 16th position.  

Alexandra Whitley propped up the field in the second Alliance Autosport Volkswagen Golf.

The TCR Australia field will return to the track for a second 30-minute practice session at 1645 local time/AEST.

Results: TCR Australia Practice 1, Sydney Motorsport Park

1   29  Astron Tech / Garth Walden Rac Michael Almond (SA)    Hyundai I30N         1:35.2320*
2   11  HMO Customer Racing            Nathan Morcom (NSW)    Hyundai I30N         1:35.6911  00.4591
3   24  Wall Racing                    John Martin (NSW)      Honda Civic Type R   1:36.1134  00.8814
4   30  HMO Customer Racing            Will Brown (QLD)       Hyundai I30N         1:36.4239  01.1919
5   22  TCR SPA 500 / Melbourne Performance Rik Breukers (NED)     Audi RS 3            1:36.5154  01.2834
6   50  Wall Racing                    Tony D’Alberto (VIC)   Honda Civic Type R   1:36.5492  01.3172
7    9  Ashley Seward Motorsport       Dylan O’Keeffe (VIC)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:36.7369  01.5049
8   33  Garry Rogers Motorsport        Chris Pither (NZ)      Renault Magane RS    1:36.9588  01.7268
9    8  Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Jason Bright (VIC)     Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:37.0045  01.7725
10   7  Garry Rogers Motorsport        Jimmy Vernon (NSW)     Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:37.2344  02.0024
11   2  Melbourne Performance          Aaron Cameron (VIC)    Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:37.3648  02.1328
12 777  Kelly Racing                   Andre Heimgartner (NZ) Subaru WRX STI       1:37.7292  02.4972
13  62  Kelly Racing                   Alex Rullo (WA)        Holden Astra         1:37.8481  02.6161
14  37  Kelly Racing                   Chelsea Angelo (VIC)   Holden Astra         1:38.3151  03.0831
15  34  Garry Rogers Motorsport        James Moffat (VIC)     Renault Magane RS    1:38.4163  03.1843
16   6  Kelly Racing                   Molly Taylor (NSW)     Subaru WRX STI       1:38.8608  03.6288
17  35  Alliance Autosport             Alexandra Whitley (QLD) Volkswagen Golf GTI   1:41.0607   05.8287

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