Schaeffler Peugeot TCR driver Dylan O’Keeffe was consigned to the role of frustrated spectator in the third and final Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series race at Symmons Plains on the weekend, after an incident with another driver knocked him out of the top five.
After qualifying 11th, O’Keeffe had worked his way forward to fifth by the opening laps of race three after chalking up top 10 results in the weekend’s opening two races.
O’Keeffe was defending from Brad Shiels when the Hyundai driver tagged O’Keeffe’s left rear at the final corner, sending the Garry Rogers Motorsport driver into the wall on pit straight.
In the aftermath of the incident, an infuriated O’Keeffe was highly critical of some of the on-track behaviour from his rivals.
“The driving standards out there today were shocking, everyone needs to settle down,” he said.
“I have no idea what Brad was trying to do there, he never got anywhere close enough and you’re never going to pass from that far back at the last corner anyway.
“We practiced with old rear tyres and it actually made the car turn really well, so when we put the fresh rubber on for qualifying it threw the balance off with what we’d done setup wise. After missing the top 10 I knew the weekend was going to be tough because of the format, qualifying pretty much determines your whole event.
“I just wanted to stay out of trouble and pick up a respectable points score so I’m not on the back foot in the championship.”
While the race three DNF has left O’Keeffe 16th in the points after Race Tasmania, he said there are positives to draw from the weekend based on his Peugeot’s race pace.
“Although qualifying didn’t go according to plan, our race package was clearly strong and I made up places in each race,” he said.
“We have a good baseline package and we know the car will be well-suited some of the tracks coming up on the calendar.
“This car won at Phillip Island last year, so fingers crossed I can take it back to the top step there and vault my way up the pecking order,” O’Keeffe concluded.
Round two will be at Phillip Island from March 18-20.
Practice 1 – 15th
Practice 2 – 3rd
Qualifying – 11th
Race 1 – 9th
Race 2 – 7th
Race 3 – DNF