Ipswich TCR: Breakthrough win for D'Alberto
Tony D'Alberto scored a breakthrough victory in the opening TCR Australia race at Queensland Raceway.
The factory-backed Honda driver converted pole position to a lights-to-flag win, holding off fellow Civic driver Zac Soutar to score a controlled win.
It was a first series win for D'Alberto, who has been a constant figure in TCR Australia since it launched in 2019.
It also helped D'Alberto extend his series lead and removes any risk of him winning the title without a race win to his name.
"It's a big relief to be honest," said D'Alberto. "People can stop asking me when I'm going to get my first win in TCR.
"The car has been pretty good all weekend. A big thanks to Wall Racing, we did a test day here and ironed out a few bugs. But you've still got to execute on the weekend, I think the team has done a great job.
"The car is coming off the corner a little bit better and looking after its tyres better. As the race was getting deeper we seemed to be getting stronger. That's a good sign for tomorrow."
While D'Alberto dominated at the front there was plenty of drama in the 18-lap opener.
The race start was delayed when Kody Garland's Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault stopped on the formation lap with power steering and clutch issues.
Once the race did get underway Bailey Sweeny (HMO Hyundai) was spun exiting the first corner while squabbling over fourth place with Jay Hanson (Melbourne Performance Centre Audi).
At that point Will Brown was running third in another MPC Audi until he speared off at Turn 3, handing third to Hanson.
The top three remained unchanged for the remainder of the race, which included a Lap 6 safety car after Ben Bargwanna (GRM Peugeot) clashed with Nathan Morcom (HMO Hyundai).
Aaron Cameron finished fourth in his GRM Peugeot followed by a recovering Sweeny, Luke King (Moutai Hyundai) and Jordan Cox (GRM Peugeot).
Michael Clemente (Michael Clemente Motorsport Honda), Brown and Josh Buchan (HMO Hyundai) rounded out the Top 10.
The round continues with two more races tomorrow.
Watch all of the TCR Australia action from Queensland Raceway live and free on Motorsport.tv (not available in Australia or New Zealand).
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