O’Keeffe edges Bargwanna in TCR pre-season test

Dylan O’Keeffe (left) and Tony D’Alberto (right) pic: TCR Australia

Dylan O’Keeffe has edged Ben Bargwanna to top spot in TCR Australia’s pre-season test day at Phillip Island.

O’Keeffe logged a best time of 1:37.0567s in one of the Garry Rogers Motorsport Renaults during the sixth and final 20-minute session for the touring car category at the Victorian circuit.

Ben Bargwanna, in a GRM Peugeot, came up 0.0102s shy on the day’s combined times, with Aaron Cameron third in another of the team’s 308s at exactly two tenths of a second off the pace.

“It’s extremely positive,” said O’Keeffe.

“I honestly didn’t expect that compared to how we were travelling throughout the day but I think it’s a big tyre game here and we know throughout the day some people put on some good tyres and so did we at the end, there’s no denying that.

“I think the car did a reasonably good job, I wouldn’t expect Phillip Island to be one of [our] stronger tracks and it was, so yeah, pretty happy with that.”

GRM entries also filled fourth through sixth, namely those of James Moffat (Renault), Jordan Cox (Alfa Romeo), and Jason Bargwanna (Peugeot), while HMO Customer Racing’s Nathan Morcom was seventh in a Hyundai.

John Martin clocked a personal best 1:37.5917s in a Wall Racing Honda while Chaz Mostert’s first outing in a Melbourne Performance Centre Audi saw him wind up ninth on a 1:37.7420s.

Tony D’Alberto (Wall Honda) was 10th.

S5000 also saw six sessions during the day, with James Golding quickest of the eight drivers who took to the track on a 1:25.0959s, 0.8079s up on Nathan Herne.

Both series, as well as Touring Car Masters and National Trans Am, will be in action at the Symmons Plains round of Boost Mobile Race Tasmania later this month.

“I think Symmons should suit us,” said O’Keeffe of the Launceston circuit.

“I’ve never raced there but ‘Moff’ has and the engineers have been there before so I’m expecting big things.

“Hopefully we can be up there. A top five result would be pretty good for us.”

That round takes place on January 24-26.

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