WTCR star Vernay pips Martin to TCR Aus QR pole 

Jean-Karl Vernay

WTCR star driver Jean-Karl Vernay has pipped John Martin by the narrowest of margins to claim pole position in a hotly contested TCR Australia qualifying session at Queensland Raceway.

The 30 minute hit-out saw four drivers enjoy spells at the top of the timesheets but it was 2017 TCR International Series champion Vernay, who took pole by 0.0060s, while the top five were covered by 0.1s.

Vernay had put the #4 Audi RS3 on provisional pole just shortly after halfway before that time was eclipsed by Dylan O’Keeffe (Ash Seward, Alfa Romeo), Will Brown (HMO Customer Racing Hyundai) and Martin (Wall Racing, Honda), who all briefly held pole.  

The Frenchman returned to the top spot with two minutes remaining with a 1:12.94s effort.

Martin was left to settle for second with series leader Brown in third only 0.04s shy of the Audi driver.

Having set the pace early on, O’Keeffe will line up for this afternoon’s race in fourth.

Former Supercars champion Russell Ingall enjoyed his most competitive session to date to secure fifth on the grid, just a tenth adrift of the pace in the Castrol-backed #100 Audi RS3.   

Tony D’Alberto was sixth in the #50 Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R ahead of the Volkswagen Golf of Aaron Cameron.

The top 10 were completed by Garry Rogers Motorsport’s new recruit Jordan Cox (Alfa Romeo), James Moffat (Garry Rogers Motorsport, Renault) and Andre Heimgartner (Kelly Racing, Opel Astra).    

The series’ inaugural race winner Jason Bright was late to venture out in the session after his Alliance Autosport Volkswagen suffered a gearbox issue.

After joining the session with 15 minutes remaining, the former Supercheap Auto Bathurst winner went on to claim 15th spot.

TCR Australia Race 1 is scheduled for 1415 AEST.

Results: TCR Australia Qualifying, Queensland Raceway

Pos Num Driver Team Car Time Gap
1    4 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA)  Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            1:12.9418
2   24 John Martin (NSW)       Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   1:12.9478 00.0060
3   30 William Brown (Qld)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         1:12.9897 00.0479
4    9 Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)    Ashley Seward Motorsport       Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:12.9924 00.0506
5  100 Russell Ingall (Qld)    Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            1:13.0536 00.1118
6   50 Tony D’Alberto (Vic)    Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   1:13.1198 00.1780
7    2 Aaron Cameron (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre   Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:13.1395 00.1977
8    7 Jordan Cox (NSW)        Garry Rogers Motorsport        Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1:13.2240 00.2822
9   34 James Moffat (Vic)      Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    1:13.3833 00.4415
10 777 Andre Heimgartner (NZ)  Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra      1:13.4765 00.5347
11  11 Nathan Morcom (NSW)     HMO Customer Racing            Hyundai i30N         1:13.5494 00.6076
12  62 Alex Rullo (WA)         Kelly Racing                   Holden Astra         1:13.6128 00.6710
13   3 Leanne Tander (Vic)     Melbourne Performance Centre   Audi RS 3            1:13.9752 01.0334
14  33 Chris Pither (NZ)       Garry Rogers Motorsport        Renault Megane RS    1:14.1699 01.2281
15   8 Jason Bright (Vic)      Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Volkswagon Golf GTI  1:14.4994 01.5576
16  38 Jordan Michels (NZ)     Wall Racing                    Honda Civic Type R   1:14.7237 01.7819
17  35 Alexandra Whitley (Qld) Alliance Autosport             Volkswagon Golf GTI  1:14.9432 02.0014
18   6 Molly Taylor (NSW)      Kelly Racing                   Subaru WRX STi       1:15.3845 02.4427

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