Sydney TCR: Hyundais lead first Australian series practice
Hyundai drivers Michael Almond and Nathan Morcom topped the first-ever TCR Australia practice session at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Almond was a somewhat surprising pacesetter in a solid field for the TCR Australia opener, the Carrera Cup regular the man to beat for almost the entirety of the 30-minute hit-out.
He first went quickest when he became the first driver into the 1m36s after seven minutes, before improving to a mid-1m35s almost immediately.
Almond then set the benchmark of 1m35.232s a third of the way into the session, which at that point gave him a whopping 1.2s margin over the rest of the field.
Not long before the halfway mark Honda driver John Martin closed the gap to eight-tenths, before HMO Customer Racing Hyundai driver Morcom got within 0.459s.
That was as close as anyway was able to go, though, with the top three not improving in the closing stages of the session.
Will Brown capped off an impressive opening session for Hyundai-shod drivers by going fourth quickest, followed by European import and very early pacesetter Rik Breukers in the Melbourne Performance Centre Audi.
Tony D'Alberto was sixth in his factory-supported Honda, Alfa driver Dylan O'Keeffe seventh, Chris Pither in the Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault eighth and former Bathurst 1000 winner Jason Bright ninth in his Golf.
Jimmy Vernon rounded out the Top 10 in his GRM-run Alfa.
There wasn't a single of Kelly Racing's four cars in the first 10, Supercars regular Andre Heimgartner the team's best performer with 12th in his Subaru.
KR Astra drivers Alex Rullo and Chelsea Angelo were next, while Molly Taylor was 16th in the Subaru.
Former Kelly Racing Supercars driver James Moffat (GRM Renault) split the gaggle of KR cars in 15th.
Motorsport.tv will be live streaming every race of the 2019 TCR Australia season free.
|1||Michael Almond (SA)||Hyundai I30N||1:35.2320*|
|2||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||Hyundai I30N||1:35.6911||00.4591|
|3||John Martin (NSW)||Honda Civic Type R||1:36.1134||00.8814|
|4||Will Brown (QLD)||Hyundai I30N||1:36.4239||01.1919|
|5||Rik Breukers (NED)||Audi RS 3||1:36.5154||01.2834|
|6||Tony D’Alberto (VIC)||Honda Civic Type R||1:36.5492||01.3172|
|7||Dylan O’Keeffe (VIC)||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:36.7369||01.5049|
|8||Chris Pither (NZ)||Renault Magane RS||1:36.9588||01.7268|
|9||Jason Bright (VIC)||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:37.0045||01.7725|
|10||Jimmy Vernon (NSW)||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||1:37.2344||02.0024|
|11||Aaron Cameron (VIC)||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:37.3648||02.1328|
|12||Andre Heimgartner (NZ)||Subaru WRX STI||1:37.7292||02.4972|
|13||Alex Rullo (WA)||Holden Astra||1:37.8481||02.6161|
|14||Chelsea Angelo (VIC)||Holden Astra||1:38.3151||03.0831|
|15||James Moffat (VIC)||Renault Magane RS||1:38.4163||03.1843|
|16||Molly Taylor (NSW)||Subaru WRX STI||1:38.8608||03.6288|
|17||Alexandra Whitley (QLD)||Volkswagen Golf GTI||1:41.0607||05.8287|
Is Australia facing a fresh touring car war?
Sydney TCR: Almond completes Friday sweep