Tony D’Alberto beats Yann Ehrlacher in Bathurst Qualifying
11 November 2023
Once again, the TCR Australia drivers were able to beat their international competitors of Kumho TCR World Tour in Qualifying. At Bathurst, Tony D’Alberto placed his Wall Racing Honda Civic on pole position for Race 1, outpacing Yann Ehrlacher and Santiago Urrutia. The second position meant that Ehrlacher reduced by ten points his gap in the World Tour standings from Norbert Michelisz, who did not make the cut for Q2, and Rob Huff who was seventh fastest in Qualifying. Now Ehrlacher lies eleven points behind Michelisz and ten behind Huff.
Q1 – Mikel Azcona opened hostilities with a lap of 2:15.3090 that was soon bettered by Ehrlacher (2:15.2932) and Thed Björk (2:15.0786). A few moments later Ehrlacher retook the lead with a lap of 2:14.6401 before he was demoted by Urrutias’ 2:14.5670.
In the last part of the 15-minute first part of the session, D’Alberto posted a new provisional fastest lap of 2:14.4730, but Ehrlacher had the last word clocking a 2:14.2877, while Urrutia moved into the second position with 2:14.3542 and Néstor Girolami made the cut in ninth position kicking Michelisz down to 11thand out of Q2 together with Will Brown and Ma Qing Hua who were placed 12th and 13th.
The following drivers advanced to Q2 Ehrlacher, Urrutia. D’Alberto, Björk, Huff, Frédéric Vervisch, Azcona, Zac Soutar, Girolami and Josh Buchan.
Q2 – Ehrlacher posted an impressive 2:13.7418 on his first lap out, with Urrutia following him in second position with 2:13.7722. But D’Alberto improved and posted a 2:13.5480 that placed him on top of the timesheet, and in the following lap he secured the pole position for Race 1 with an even faster lap of 2:13.3568.
On these results, grid penalties for Race 1 will be applied; Ehrlacher will be dropped from second to seventh following an engine change, while Björk and Huff will slip to sixth eighth for incidents in Sydney’s Race 2.
Will Harris withdrew from the meeting due to an aggravation of an existing rib injury.
D’Alberto said: “Everything went pretty well. I had put the car in front yesterday in the first practice and I’m very happy with the lap the secured me the pole. It’s a good place where to start for the race. Competition will be very intense. I have to focus on making a good start and lead in the first lap. I know it won’t be easy to keep the international drivers behind.”
Ehrlacher said: “It was not an easy one. I missed the first practice and keep on learning the track. It was a good lap, I could have made a bit better, but catching D’Alberto for the pole would have been difficult. He did a great lap, I pushed like hell, but it was not enough. But if I look at the points I have scored, I’m happy.”
Race 1 is due to start later at 16:15 local time (06:15 CET), with live streaming on tcr-series.tv and YouTube.
Bathurst – Qualifying
1. Tony D’Alberto (Wall Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 1:13.3568
3. Santiago Urrutia (Cyan Racing, Lynk & Co 03 FL), 1:13.7722
Championship points – TCR World Tour
1. N. Michelisz, 327 pts; 2. R. Huff, 326; 3. Y. Ehrlacher, 316
Championship points – TCR Australia
1. B. Sweeny, 708 pts; 2. J. Buchan, 686; 3. A. Cameron, 661
Picture: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz
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