Dylan O’Keeffe is confident he can continue bridging the gap to the TCR Australia points lead when the series heads to Winton for Round 5 this weekend.
The Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo driver scored two race victories in the previous round at Queensland Raceway, reducing the margin to leader Will Brown from 129 to 57 points with three rounds remaining.
The 21-year-old said the Winton circuit will provide different challenges, but is still expecting his Alfa Romeo to be a strong package.
“So far, all the TCR rounds have been on tracks with relatively fast, sweeping corners, but Winton is slower and a lot more technical,” O’Keeffe said.
“This year, one of the biggest strengths of the ASM team has been their ability to roll up at the track with a base setup that’s already in the window, and we’ve only had to make minor tweaks to the car throughout each race weekend.”
O’Keeffe said the tight nature of Winton will make qualifying even more important than usual.
“Because the braking zones at Winton are so short, there are fewer overtaking opportunities than other tracks, so qualifying up the front will be absolutely key,” he said.
“We’ve seen at other rounds that building rear tyre temperature can be an issue, and with the cool temperatures and slow corners, it will be even tougher at Winton.
“People who qualify in the mid-pack will be taking risks to try and move forward, and there will be drama – we need ensure we avoid any incidents by being in front of them.
“Qualifying has been a strength for us this year – we’ve qualified in the top four at every round – and it’s essential for us to continue that form this weekend.”
This weekend also sees a revised format, with a single, 50-minute practice session on Saturday morning rather than the split Friday sessions at previous rounds.
“I don’t mind the longer session, it actually makes it easier to evaluate the impact of setup changes because you can immediately go back onto the track and see what effect it’s had,” O’Keeffe said.
“Overall, I’m expecting this weekend to produce very close racing among a large group of cars and drivers, so it will be entertaining for those watching at the track or at home,” he concluded.
TCR Round 5 schedule
Saturday, 31 August
9:05am – Practice (50 min)
11:30am – Qualifying (30 min)
2:15pm – Race 1 (30 min)
Sunday, 1 September
1:15pm – Race 2 (30 min)
2:20pm – Race 3 (30 min)
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