Moffat takes repaired Renault to maiden TCR pole 

James Moffat

James Moffat has taken an impressive TCR Australia pole after a late qualifying gamble in his repaired Renault Megane at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Moffat shot to pole having made the switch to slick tyres on the front on a damp but drying track, posting the crucial 2:06.08s effort as the chequered flag flew in the 30 minute session. 

The feat was made all the more poignant after his Garry Rogers Motorsport team were forced to conduct an extensive repair, that included a late night trip to Bunnings Warehouse, after copping a heavy impact from series leader Will Brown in Friday practice.

Moffat had been sitting in the lower reaches of the time sheets before firing in his personal best to secure the first pole for Renault in TCR.

The former Supercars full-timer was one of a handful to improve by generating heat in the Michelin slick front tyres, while keeping wets on the rear.

“There are not words good enough to describe the legends at GRM,” said Moffat, who had spun at Turn 14 earlier in the session.

“Without their phenomenal efforts there is no way we would get this car back on track. 

“First pole for Renault (in TCR), I’m absolutely rapt.”

Moffat will share the front row with Tony D’Alberto who topped the session right until the death in his Wall Racing Honda Civic, ending up 1.16s shy of the ultimate pace.

Dylan O’Keeffe was third fastest in his Ash Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo with the two-time TCR race winner alongside the Melbourne Performance Centre Audi of Garth Tander.

The drivers were greeted with testing conditions courtesy of a damp track that was treacherous off the racing line following morning rain showers at Tailem Bend.

Wet tyres were the order of the day at the start but by halfway several drivers made the jump to slick Michelin rubber as a visible dry line appeared.

D’Alberto built on his impressive pace in the wet after topping Practice 2 by setting the pace early with a 2:07.24s that handed him a 1.4s margin over the field. 

O’Keeffe held second spot from Garth Tander, Aaron Cameron ( Melbourne Performance Centre – Volkswagen) and Nathan Morcom (HMO Customer Racing – Hyundai).  

While the majority of the grid opted to make a tyre switch, only Moffat and Russell Ingall (Audi) were able to improve with the latter jumping from 17th to 12th at the flag. 

Cameron ended the session in fifth ahead of Morcom and John Martin in #24 Wall Racing Honda Civic.

The top 10 was completed by Practice 1 pacesetter Jordan Cox (Wall Racing- Honda), Jason Bright (Alliance Autosport – Volkswagen) and Alex Rullo (Kelly Racing – Opel Astra).   

Series leader Brown (HMO Customer Racing- Hyundai) could only secure 16th on the grid, one spot behind Kelly Racing Supercars driver Andre Heimgartner (Subaru).

TCR Australia Race 1 is scheduled for 1345 local time and will be broadcast live on SBS and via the Shannons Nationals live stream carried by

Results: TCR Australia Qualifying – The Bend Motorsport Park

Pos Num Driver Team Car Time Gap
1   34 James Moffat (Vic)      Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    2:06.0847
2   50 Tony D’Alberto (Vic)    Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   2:07.2499 01.1652
3    9 Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)    Ashley Seward Motorsport       Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2:07.9934 01.9087
4    4 Garth Tander (Vic)      Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            2:08.1935 02.1088
5    2 Aaron Cameron (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre   Volkswagen Golf GTI  2:08.2550 02.1703
6   11 Nathan Morcom (NSW)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         2:08.2682 02.1835
7   24 John Martin (NSW)       Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   2:08.3853 02.3006
8   38 Jordan Cox (NSW)        Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   2:08.4566 02.3719
9    8 Jason Bright (Vic)      Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Volkswagon Golf GTI  2:08.8402 02.7555
10  62 Alex Rullo (WA)         Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         2:08.8701 02.7854
11   7 Jimmy Vernon (NSW)      Garry Rogers Motorsport        Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2:08.8841 02.7994
12 100 Russell Ingall (Qld)    Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            2:09.4270 03.3423
13  33 Chris Pither (NZ)       Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    2:09.4495 03.3648
14   3 Leanne Tander (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            2:09.5361 03.4514
15 777 Andre Heimgartner (NZ)  Kelly Racing                   Subaru WRX STi       2:09.5380 03.4533
16  30 William Brown (Qld)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         2:09.7424 03.6577
17  37 Chelsea Angelo (Vic)    Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         2:10.2278 04.1431
18   6 Molly Taylor (NSW)      Kelly Racing                   Subaru WRX STi       2:12.5003 06.4156
19  35 Alexandra Whitley (Qld) Alliance Autosport             Volkswagon Golf GTI  2:12.5813 06.4966

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