Photo: TCR Australia

Aaron Cameron fastest in practice for TCR Australia opener

Aaron Cameron was fastest in both TCR Australia practice sessions at Sandown Raceway.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport driver set a 1:14.929 to top Friday’s first half-hour session by 0.309 seconds over teammate Ben Bargwanna, with Honda Racing Team Wall’s Tony D’Alberto 0.376s behind in third.

A fifth of the session was lost to a red flag period caused by D’Alberto’s teammate Will Harris getting his car beached in the gravel at the turn nine left-hander.

It was D’Alberto who was in first place at that point, but once the session restarted the GRM duo moved to the top in their Peugeot 308 TCRs. They had got their new personal bests in before red flags waved again due to BRM Motorsport’s Glenn Nirwan beaching his Audi RS 3 LMS TCR in the same place Harris had gone off. That incident damaged his gearbox and ruled him out for the rest of the day.

There was enough time left on the clock for another restart, but nobody was able to Cameron’s pace with their final flying laps. Reigning champion Josh Buchan was only fifth fastest and 0.731s slower than Cameron.

Although the second practice session was disruption-free, that did not lead to faster laps being set for a majority of the field. A 1:15.247 put Cameron on top this time, with D’Alberto just 0.025s slower than him in second place on the timesheet and third overall in the combined classification of the two sessions.

Bargwanna, Buchan and Jordan Cox were closely matched in third, fourth and fifth in second practice, with Bargwanna 0.118s off the pace and 0.155s ahead of Cox.

Qualifying starts at 10:30 local time on Saturday.