Dylan O’Keeffe has experienced all the highs and lows of motorsport in Round 6 of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup at Sandown on the weekend, but has remained in contention for the title despite the topsy-turvy results.
The high point of the weekend came in the Saturday race, when he achieved his first race victory of the season – and the first ever for his GWR Australia/RAM Motorsport team – after qualifying second on the grid.
“I concentrated on nailing the start and I made a perfect one – I took the lead into the first corner and the controlled the race from there,” O’Keeffe said.
However, the weekend spiralled downhill in Race 2 on Sunday morning. From pole position, O’Keeffe led initially before conceding a place to Aaron Love. A couple of laps later, an error for Love gave O’Keeffe the incentive to try and recapture the lead, but he ended up awkwardly positioned on the outside of the circuit at the end of the back straight, clipped the kerb and made contact with another rival, Max Vidau.
The resulting damage to O’Keeffe’s Dexion/RAM Motorsport Porsche was enough to put him out of the race, his first DNF of the season. To add insult to injury, he was also penalised 25 championship points for the incident.
“It was a really unfortunate situation; Aaron had a slow run out of Turn 4 and I tried to pass him, but we ended up three-wide at the end of the back straight and I was in an awkward spot,” O’Keeffe said.
“Unfortunately, I made contact with Max which put us both out of the race – I’m sorry to him and also sorry to the GWR boys, who had to work hard to get my car fixed for Race 3.”
In the final race, O’Keeffe moved from the rear of the field to 15th, despite limited passing opportunities.
“As we’ve seen all year, once you get buried in the pack it’s hard to pass, because the cars are so evenly matched – I wasn’t able to capitalise on the strength of my car in areas where you could overtake,” he said.
With the championship leader Harri Jones failing to finish Race 3, O’Keeffe remains in title contention at 84 points off the lead and is determined to fight hard in the final two rounds.
“We won’t give up until the last race of the season – wins are everything now, we just have to win races,” O’Keeffe said.
“At Bathurst, I feel like we should be strong and the Gold Coast is a circuit with a high probability of damage, so anything could happen there.”
In addition to his Carrera Cup racing, O’Keeffe also drove the Subway PremiAir Commodore Supercar in the co-driver session on Friday afternoon, where he was 18th-fastest.
“The car was quick out of the box on our first set of tyres, and I felt comfortable straight away,” O’Keeffe said.
“I’m really looking forward to doing Bathurst with James (Golding), we have our eyes firmly set on the top 10.”
Round Results Summary
Race 1: 1st
Race 2: DNF
Race 3: 15th
Carrera Cup Championship Points
- Harri Jones – 689
- David Wall – 621
- Dylan O’Keeffe – 605
- Aaron Love – 597
- David Russell – 595
- Dale Wood – 484
- Callum Hedge – 483
- Christian Pancione – 476
- Max Vidau – 444
- Luke Youlden – 436