Three different winners in Tasmania, while Soutar leads the points

Three different winners in Tasmania, while Soutar leads the points

17 March 2024

Tony D’Alberto, Dylan O’Keeffe and Tom Oliphant shared wins in Race Tasmania, TCR Australia’ second event of the season at Symmons Plains.

A red flag and a safety car period resulted in the first race being shortened from 30 to 10 laps, which was less than 50 percent of the scheduled distance. Following a prostest from Garry Rogers Motorsport, the Stewards ruled that championship points were not to be allocated for that race. This resulted in D’Alberto’s decision to stop at the end of the formation lap for Race 3 in protest. Later, Wall Racing has lodged an appeal against the Stewards' decision and therefore the championship standings remain provisional.

For now, Zac Soutar leads standings, one point clear of Ben Bargwanna and Jordan Cox.

Race 1 – D’Alberto was on pole having beaten by seven hundredths Buchan who had moved on top of the standings, three points clear of Bargwanna. At the start, D’Alberto led from Buchan and Soutar, while Brad Harris and Ryan Casha collided while fighting for P4. Casha’s Peugeot hit the barrier and stopped onto the gravel, forcing the race to be red-flagged.

When the competition restarted, Buchan had a better reflex, but D’Alberto overtook him into T1; behind them Brad Harris moved up to third but went off at the beginning of lap 2 and the safety car was deployed. Racing resumed in lap 6, with D’Alberto leading from Buchan, Soutar and Clay Richards. There was a battle for P5 between the Garry Rogers Motorsport Peugeot cars of Bargwanna, Cox and Aaron Cameron; Oliphant joined the fight and passed Cameron for P7 before making a mistake and dropping behind him again. D’Alberto built a small lead and won the shortened race by 1.6-second over Buchan, with Soutar completing the podium.

Race 2 – O’Keeffe and Will Harris shared the front row of the top-ten reversed grid; O’Keeffe made good use of the pole and led the field at the start from Cameron who sprinted from P4 on the grid and Will Harris. In lap 3, Cameron was chasing the leader when Harris missed the braking point at T4 and slammed into the back of the Peugeot. Harris retired, while Cameron pitted for repairs and rejoined at the back of the field. The race became processional, with Oliphant and Cox trying to chase O’Keeffe who held on to the lead and scored his first win in the series since 2019. Oliphant and Cox joined him on the podium, with Bargwanna and Soutar in fourth and fifth, while Buchan overtook Richards for P6 in lap 26.

Race 3 – As points were not awarded for Race 1, the grid for Race 3 was based on the results of Race 2, with O’Keeffe on pole and Oliphant alongside him. At the start, O’Keefe led, while Cox passed Oliphant for second at T4. There was a thrilling battle for the lead and in lap 3, both Cox and Oliphant overtook O’Keeffe at T4, but the latter struck back and repassed Oliphant in lap 4. After making contact with Soutar, Oliphant dropped to fifth behind Soutar and Richards. In lap 5, Bargwanna went off after colliding with Buchan and Casha, but he was able to rejoin.

Up front, Cox and O’Keeffe swapped the leads a few times, but when they got to T4 Soutar took the lead; soon afterwards Oliphant and Richards moved to second and third. In lap 8, O’Keeffe, Cox and Cameron came together, with the two Peugeot drivers dropping a few places. In lap 11, Oliphant stole the lead from Soutar and pulled away. Richards too passed Soutar, climbing to P2; Soutar was chased by Buchan, and they collided at high speed in lap 25, with Buchan spinning off the track and rejoining at the back. One lap later, O’Keeffe passed Soutar for P3, and this is the way they finished, with Oliphant the winner from Richards and O’Keeffe. After the race, the Stewards’ investigations resulted in ten-penalty points to Buchan, for the collision with Soutar and ten-second penalty for Cameron, who dropped from sixth to ninth, for the incident with Cox and O’Keeffe

The championship will resume at Phillip Island on April 12/14.


Symmons Plains – Race 1

  1. Tony D’Alberto (Wall Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 10 laps
  2. Josh Buchan (HMO Customer Racing, Hyundai i30 N), 1.6871
  3. Zac Soutar (Tufflift Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 3.0260


Symmons Plains – Race 2

  1. Dylan O’Keeffe (Ashley Seward Motorsport, Lynk & Co 03), 29 laps
  2. Tom Oliphant (HMO Customer Racing, Hyundai i30 N), 1.1126
  3. Jordan Cox (Schaeffler GRM, Peugeot 308), 2.7514


Symmons Plains – Race 3

  1. Tom Oliphant (HMO Customer Racing, Hyundai i30 N), 29 laps
  2. Clay Richards (Carl Cox Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición), 2.2070
  3. Dylan O’Keeffe (Ashley Seward Motorsport, Lynk & Co 03), 8.2325


Championship points

  1. Z. Soutar, 187 pts; 2. B. Bargwanna, 186; 3. J. Cox, 186


Picture: TCR Australia

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