Brown impresses, O’Keefe holds TCR lead

Will Brown has enjoyed his first race win for the carsales TCR Australia SimRacing Series in a round that saw series leader Dylan O’Keefe hold his lead at the top of the standings.

With Sydney Motorsport Park the destination for the virtual series’ fifth round, O’Keefe started the event strongest with a solid effort in qualifying, before converting his pole position to a race win.

Fighting off early challenges from John Martin, O’Keefe comfortably led the field for the majority of the race, while Martin finished ahead of Ben Bargwanna who rounded out the podium.

Despite being so dominant in the race, O’Keefe was thrilled he was able to set himself up with pole.

“It was exactly what I was needed,” O’Keeffe said.

“I didn’t think I had the pace for pole. I thought Ben (Bargwanna) was going to drop in with a fast time at the end, but he missed out.

“The race was good. John and I were quite quick, but I was pleased to get the race win.”

Finishing behind Bargwanna in the opening race after starting outside the top 10, Brown capitalised on his good form for the reverse grid race, where he charged from the back of the field all the way to the front.

It was a defining race for the 22-year-old, who was the inaugural winner of the ‘real life’ carsales TCR Australia Series as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships in 2019.

“Yeah, that was a bit of fun,” Brown said post-race.

“There was a bit of bumping out there, but I really enjoyed it.

“I haven’t been on the simulator for a while, and I didn’t think I’d get the win tonight. Now that I’ve had a few weeks off, I’m really enjoying the sim racing.

“The TCR car on the Assetto Corsa platform feels really realistic. I can really relate to it more and I really enjoyed it.”

Making up the rest of the top three behind Brown was Martin and youngster Jay Hanson, with the duo battling it out for much of the race before Martin pipped Hanson on the final corner of the final lap.

Martin’s double podium ensured that he stays just within reach of O’Keefe for the outright title as the series continues in two weeks at the Surfers Paradise street circuit.