Moffatt Give Renault An Historic Pole After Brave Tyre Pick
James Moffat will sit on pole position for the first of three races in the Carsales TCR Australia Series at Tailem Bend.
An imaginative tyre choice mixing slick front tyres with wet rears gave Moffat the grip he needed for a late lunge with his Renault Megane, to grab top spot from early pace-setter Tony D’Alberto in a Honda Civic Type R.
The pole is the first for a rEnault in world TCR competition.
Championship contender Dylan O’Keefe gave himself the edge over series leader Will Brown when he grabbed third on the grid with his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, while his rival struggled to 16th.
Moffat’s mighty effort was payback for the team from Garry Rogers Motorsport, who worked overnight to repair his badly damaged Renault after he had been rear-ended at 140km/h by Brown in the wet opening practice in South Australia.
It also gave him the first pole position for Renault in global TCR racing.
“We had nothing to lose. The car was nowhere in the wet so we gambled on the tyres and it worked,” Moffat reported.
“I was able to snag the last lap as the track dried. And it’s great payback for the crew after all their work.”
D’Alberto was massively disappointed after topping the times under the dying seconds, but admitted he had waited too long to switch from wet tyres on a drying track.
“It took too long to get the rear tyre temperature up. Even time I tried to lean on the rears it let go,” D’Alberto said.
“We left it too long to put slicks on. With another lap we might have had enough temperature.
“Still, it’s a good result. And we were on top for a long time.”
O’Keefe was surprised to run third and also conceded that he stayed on wets for too long.
“I forgot how long it takes to get the rear tyres up to temperature on these cars,” he said.
“Moff just outsmarted us all.”
But, after falling back in the championship battle after a massive crash eliminated him from the final race in the previous round at Phillip Island, he was happy to be at the front with Brown at the rear in his Hyundai.
“I’m surprised I got third. But it’s good that Will is only 16th, so hopefully I can get some points back.”
Garth Tander was best of the rest in fourth place with his Audi RS3.
New comer Jordan Cox will start his first TCR race in eighth place just ahead of race one winner Jason Bright.
Russell Ingall, in his TCR debut qualified 12th in his Audi RS3 with Leanne Tander fastest of the three Women drivers in the race starting from 14th alson in an Audi.