Honda rocketship the target for series leader
Enjoying his most consistent start to a Supercheap Auto TCR Australia season so far, series leader Tony D’Alberto is wanting more as he aims to extend his 37-point margin at the top of the standings.
Sydney Motorsport Park holds good memories for the Honda Australia-supported driver as he secured the first ever pole for the class in 2019 and enjoyed a consistent run last year, despite some tyre troubles.
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However, the new Michelin tyre introduced at Phillip Island has enhanced the Honda package as D’Alberto is bullish about his chances this weekend.
“The new tyre seems to be an improvement and we haven’t experienced any problems,” said D’Alberto.
“It should help us this weekend because we were forced to change our set-up to try and nurse the tyre a little, whereas we shouldn’t have too as much now.
“The Honda has been good there over the last few years, so I’m expecting it to be on the money.
“I’d expect the Hyundais to be fast there as they have been in the past, the Peugeots haven’t been as quick there, but maybe GRM has found some speed because they were definitely the car to beat at Bathurst and the Audis have good steerers behind the wheel, plus are also have speed there.
“I’m probably missing a few there, but I think those will be the ones to beat.”
Although extending his series lead at Bathurst, D’Alberto isn’t remaining complacent as he aims to extract more pace out of the Honda package.
“It’s bloody hard at the front I tell ya, it’s really, really difficult as every one is so fast you have to do everything right to try and get a result,” D’Alberto emphasised.
“I felt like we didn’t have the pace onboard at Bathurst, so we maximised what we had and going forward I know we’re in a very good spot title wise our best defence is going to be a fast car, and that’s all we’re working on.
“My engineer David Fyfe doesn’t want to talk about the series, he just wants to make the Honda a rocketship, so that’s our focus.”
Another reason for his consistent start to the season is D’Alberto’s packed schedule so far, which included a top five finish at the recent LIQUI MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour.
“I’ve done a lot of racing this year and it’s definitely helped to do so much after limited opportunities during the past few years,” D’Alberto explained.
D’Alberto also welcomes back Fabian Coulthard as teammate in the Stan Sport Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR after the latter missed Bathurst.
“Fabian’s been really strong as he showed at Phillip Island,” D’Alberto said.
“It’s nice to have him back and someone who is familiar with the car, so we can bounce off each other, as also we have a good friendship.”
As for racing at night, D’Alberto believes the TCRs will be at optimum level following a brief experience at Bathurst.
“The turbos love the cool conditions, we did see a little bit of that during the second race as it started getting dark and the conditions were good,” D’Alberto enthused.
“Far out the cars were absolutely humming!”
The SpeedSeries in Sydney will feature seven racing categories and 15 hours of live and ad-break free coverage on Stan Sport across Saturday and Sunday.
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International viewers can watch the action via motorsport.tv