With the start of the carsales TCR Australia Series drawing near, drivers have taken part in an official testing session at Winton Motor Raceway.
Leading the 15 participating drivers was Tony D’Alberto, who steered his Wall Racing Honda Civic to the fastest lap of the day with a solid time 1:24.1842s.
There was only one hundredth of a second between D’Alberto and the next fastest in Nathan Morcom, while the Hyundai i30N driver was just one tenth faster than teammate and reigning champion Will Brown.
“We had a really good day. We got through quite a few things we wanted to try,” D’Alberto said post-event.
“The car was much better than when we raced here last year. We’ve made a bit of an improvement with the set up and our philosophy.
“With the set up, it was nice to be the quickest today. It does mean a lot. Obviously we’re happy about it, but we know there’s a huge amount of work to do
In what was shining example of how close the cars will be this year, less than half a second separated the top nine drivers, with new face Jason Bargwanna just over half a second behind the leader in 10th.
In seventh place, Zac Soutar was fastest out of the new crop of drivers, while Jay Hanson was ninth and Michael Clemente grabbed 12th on the timesheets.
The event also saw the new kerning at Winton’s third and fourth turns used for the first time and drivers were complementary of the modifications, including Morcom.
“I reckon the new kerbing is awesome,” Morcom said.
“The track is safer, it is faster but the most important is that it’s safer to stay off the walls, and those sausage curves just damage those cars.”
TCR Australia competitors will be on show during next month’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, before the official carsales TCR Australia Series gets underway as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championship’s first round at Sydney Motorsport Park on 27-29 March.
The full times
1- Tony D’Alberto 1:24.1842*
2- Nathan Morcom 1:24.1924
3- William Brown 1:24.2097
4- Jordan Cox 1:24.4154
5- John Martin 1:24.4540
6- Aaron Cameron 1:24.4655
7- Zac Soutar 1:24.5623
8- Dylan O’Keeffe 1:24.6795
9- Jay Hanson 1:24.6800
10- Jason Bargwanna 1:24.6975
11- Michael Caruso 1:24.7573
12- Michael Clemente 1:25.3291
13- James Moffat 1:25.9742
14- Michael King 1:26.5653
15- James Allen 1:27.1933