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O’Keeffe Alfa snatches TCR Australia pole 

Tom Howard

Saturday 8th June, 2019 - 12:23pm

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Dylan O’Keeffe

Dylan O’Keeffe will start from pole position after producing a last gasp effort in an eventful TCR Australia qualifying session at Phillip Island.

The ASM Alfa Romeo driver saved his best until the final moments to take pole away from series leader Will Brown (HMO Customer Racing, Hyundai) with an impressive 1:35.98s lap.

Jason Bright (Alliance Autosport, Volkswagen), who briefly held provisional pole, was third fastest and will share the second row with Wall Racing’s Honda’s Tony D’Alberto. 

A number of drivers struggled in the early running with Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Racing, Subaru) and Alex Rullo (Kelly Racing, Opel/Holden) going off the road.

Heimgartner revealed that a cockpit switch was accidentally on which caused his off, while Rullo carried too much speed into Turn 1 and fired across the grass, before rejoining at Turn 2.  

The section of track produced more action as Aaron Cameron endured off track excursions on consecutive laps with the latter bringing out the red flags.

Cameron’s second off resulted in the Volkswagen nosing into the barriers at the Southern Loop, which halted the session after eight minutes.

O’Keeffe (ASM, Alfa Romeo) held the top spot with a 1:39.95s before the stoppage, ahead of Jason Bright (Alliance Autosport, Volkswagen and Jimmy Vernon (Garry Rogers Motorsport, Alfa Romeo).

The session resumed after a 10 minute break while officials cleared Cameron’s car.

James Moffat soon surged to the top spot as the GRM Renault driver lowered the benchmark to a 1:37.76s before going to improve by almost a second.

The times continued to tumble with Brown the next to hold provisional pole before being displaced by Bright moments later.

However, It didn’t take long for Brown to respond as he returned to the head of the field with five minutes remaining.

The time was not enough to hang onto pole as O’Keeffe swept through to take the spot at the death.

John Martin was fifth fastest in the sister Wall Racing Honda with Moffat settling for sixth.

Practice 1 pacesetter Garth Tander (Melbourne Performance Centre, Audi) will start from seventh despite ending the session stranded in the gravel trap at Southern Loop.

The top 10 was completed by Nathan Morcom (HMO Customer Racing, Hyundai), Heimgartner and Chris Pither (Garry Rogers Motorsport, Renault).

Leanne Tander on her TCR debut ended up 14th fastest in the Melbourne Performance Centre, Audi.

Race 1 is scheduled to begin at 1415 AEST.

Results: TCR Australia Phillip Island Qualifying 

Pos Car Competitor/Team              Driver                 Vehicle             Fastest lap       Gap
1   9 Ashley Seward Motorsport Dylan O’Keeffe Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:35.9877*
2  30 HMO Customer Racing William Brown Hyundai i30N 1:36.4730 0:00.4853
3   8 Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Jason Bright Volkswagon Golf GTI 1:36.5163 0:00.5286
4  50 Wall Racing Tony D’Alberto Honda Civic Type R 1:36.6621 0:00.6744
5  24 Wall Racing John Martin Honda Civic Type R 1:36.7984 0:00.8107
6  34 Garry Rogers Motorsport James Moffat Renault Megane RS 1:36.8276 0:00.8399
7   4 Melbourne Performance Centre Garth Tander Audi RS 3 1:36.8420 0:00.8543
8  11 HMO Customer Racing Nathan Morcom Hyundai i30N 1:36.8688 0:00.8811
9 777 Kelly Racing Andre Heimgartner Subaru WRX STi 1:37.0280 0:01.0403
10  33 Garry Rogers Motorsport Chris Pither Renault Megane RS 1:37.1067 0:01.1190
11  22 Melbourne Performance Centre Hamish Ribartis Audi RS 3 1:37.5637 0:01.5760
12   7 Garry Rogers Motorsport Jimmy Vernon Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:37.7329 0:01.7452
13  62 Kelly Racing Alex Rullo Holden Astra 1:37.9446 0:01.9569
14   3 Melbourne Performance Centre Leanne Tander Audi RS 3 1:38.3403 0:02.3526
15   6 Kelly Racing Molly Taylor Subaru WRX STi 1:39.4443 0:03.4566
16  35 Alliance Autosport Alexandra Whitley Volkswagon Golf GTI 1:40.0145 0:04.0268
17  37 Kelly Racing Chelsea Angelo Holden Astra 1:42.0753 0:06.0876
18   2 Melbourne Performance Centre Aaron Cameron Volkswagen Golf GTI 1:54.7304 0:18.7427

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