Photo: TCR Australia

Dylan O’Keeffe says he maximised his chances while title rivals struggled

Dylan O’Keeffe has said that he made the most of his opportunities in this weekend’s TCR Australia series round at Queensland Raceway as some of his championship competitors fell by the wayside.

The Ashley Seward Motorsports driver was able to take second in Race 1 before going on to clean sweep Sunday with two race wins from pole en route to winning the round in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce.

Narrowing the margin to championship leader Will Brown down to just 55 points after the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai driver enjoyed a 125 point gap heading into the round, O’Keeffe says his target in Ipswich was always to chip away at the title lead.

“That was the focus for the weekend and it worked really well,” he said.

“Will had to have a bad round at some point and we maximised this weekend. We got a free kick yesterday with Tony (D’Alberto running off the road) and this morning (Jean-Karl Vernay pulling out of the round) so that made it a little bit easier but the car was obviously quite good.

“I could do what I wanted with it and build a gap when I needed to; that’s what was important and getting good confidence in the car. The first ten laps weren’t too bad and then my engineer said in races two and three, ‘Russell (Ingall) is coming.’

“When I needed to push the lap times wouldn’t come so while the car was good I should have kept going but then at the end in race two Aaron (Cameron and Russ) were quite quick so I had to not make mistakes.”

Consistency will now be the key to O’Keeffe’s championship charge as he tries to reel in Brown, not finishing twice so far this year while the i30 N TCR driver has scored in every race.

“Most importantly we have to focus on bringing the car home. We’ve had two DNF’s and Will hasn’t had one yet,” he said.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen, we’ve got to just focus on ourselves and everyone in the team is going to do all they can.

“I’ll try to keep the races clean and I don’t think I’ve qualified outside the top four so if I can stay up there, ultimately it puts you in a good position in the race.”

Looking ahead to next round at Winton, O’Keeffe says the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce should be quick around the Victorian circuit which is a change of pace from the tracks so far this year.

“The racing at Winton will be quite close, it’s a tight and twisty circuit so who knows who will be quick?

“Obviously my car should roll off the truck pretty speedy but we’ve got to tune it up a little bit because previous circuits we’ve raced on have been fast and flowing. Not sure how the car will react but I’m excited for the rest of the year.

“We saw in qualifying how close everyone was and at Winton I think the whole field will be closer, not just the top four. I’m looking forward to that for sure.”