Alfa Sets The Pace But A Great Debut From Both The Tanders: Watch The Shannons Nationals LIVE

Garth Tander and Dylan O’Keeffe set the pace on the opening day of practice for the second round of the new TCR Australia series at Phillip Island.

Driving his brand-new Audi RS 3, Tander blitzed the field in the opening session and held the top spot for the majority of the second session until the Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Dylan O’Keeffe put in a late flyer to secure the top time for the day.

“Having never driven a front wheel drive car before, it took some time to get my head around it today,” said Tander.

“In the second session I felt much more comfortable in the car and we started making changes and tuning the car to find some more speed, I think we found some gains ahead of Qualifying tomorrow so overall it was an enjoyable day.

“We had a driveline issue in Practice 2, probably a case of new car blues as it was the first proper run of the car today.

“One of the bolts that hold the driveshaft and the front wheel bearing together came out so I lost drive and so I parked the car to prevent any further damage to the driveline.

“We couldn’t test a couple of our final changes but we’re still confident heading into tomorrow.”

O’Keefe was delighted with the early pace shown by the Alfa Romeo and he heads into the weekend with his confidence high.

“It was a great start to the weekend here at Phillip Island for Ashley Seward Motorsport,” said Dylan O’Keeffe.

“The Alfa Romeo was really hooked up in practice today so hopefully we can translate that into Qualifying tomorrow.

“I knew the Alfa Romeo would be a good package leading into Phillip Island, but on track it moves around a lot more than I anticipated, it’s like driving on a knife-edge but really exciting at the same time.

“I think this track will create better racing than Sydney, and I expect the competition to be closer again now that the teams and drivers have more experience with these cars.”

Andre Heimgartner finished the day with the third fastest time in his Subaru WRX, showing promising signs for the developing WRX racer.

Honda driver John Martin made it four different makes in the top four with his Honda Civic Type R, capping off a consistent day after finishing third in the first session.

Testing for the Australian GT Endurance Championship started today in preparation for Sunday’s 180 minute race. Cameron McConville in the Lamborghini Hurricane posted the fastest time of the field with a 1:27.37.

Jamie Whincup jumped behind the wheel of a Supercar of a different variety – a Mercedes AMG GT3. Whincup’s 1:27.41 was the second quickest time of the session. Max Twigg rounded out the top three times with a 1:28.05 in the Mercedes AMG GT3.

Friday saw the opening race of the weekend for the CAMS Australian Formula 4 Championship. Recent guest on In Pit Lane Luis Leeds continued his strong form with another win from pole.

Leeds was consistently the quickest across all sessions, earning himself a position on the front row for Race 1. Starting beside Leeds was Lochie Hughes (QLD), and behind them in the second row sat Ryan Suhle (QLD) and Emerson Harvey (VIC).

Leeds wrapped up a great day behind the wheel by claiming the Race 1 win. Hughes failed to hang onto second, with Suhle slipping in front during the third lap and staying there for the rest of the race. Antonio Astuti (VIC) had the pace, which saw him set the fastest lap time of the race and secure third.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge saw current series leader Harri Jones set the early pace clocking 1:32.09. Fellow Queenslander Ryan Suhle finished practice with the narrowest of margins to the leader – a mere one one-hundreths of a second away. Max Vidau, another recent studio guest on In Pit Lane, returned to form after issues in the Sydney round, posting the third fastest time during practice with a 1:32.14.