Last year’s TCR Australia Series winner Tony D’Alberto was left to lament technical gremlins that ultimately starved him of his first win this year.
Driving his Wall Racing-prepared Honda Civic Type R, D’Alberto finished second to HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny after encountering gearshift gremlins.
D’Alberto, who started from the front row, took the lead into the first turn at Symmons Plains and was unchallenged until the technical trouble.
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That gave race one winner Sweeny a free kick as D’Alberto slowed out of the hairpin stuck in sixth gear.
Sweeny took the lead in his Hyundai i30 N on lap 20 and never looked back, taking victory by more than three seconds.
“I just had a couple of miss-shifts trying to go up the (gear)box, and then going down to the hairpin it just wouldn’t let me select any gears going down,” D’Alberto told Stan Sport’s Chris Stubbs.
“So I went through the hairpin in sixth (gear). I just couldn’t get back down to first gear. Bailey got around me and that was it.
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“Really disappointed because we had good pace then and I felt like we could have held him off there at the end.
“The boys have done a really good job. I knew if we could nail the start we were in with a shot. This time around we had a little issue.
“I really wanted that win. It would have been nice to start the year off with a win but, anyway, we’ll come back hungrier at the next round.”
Despite starting from pole position, Sweeny didn’t have the best getaway. He fell behind D’Alberto and Garry Rogers Motorsport ace Jordan Cox to sit third by turn one.
Cox quickly faded and Sweeny dispatched him for second spot. Then D’Alberto struck trouble.
Earlier in the day, Aaron Cameron claimed his first win of the year.
Front row starter Michael Clemente was slow away, allowing Lachlann Mineeff to streak into the lead at turn one.
Second row starter Cameron went around Mineeff and slotted into second.
After Saturday’s mechanical woes, Will Brown returned on Sunday. He stormed through the field only to suffer the same issue.
A mistake by Mineeff at the hairpin opened the door for Cameron, who completed the pass at the penultimate turn.
Cameron cruised away from Mineeff while Cox claimed third.
Sweeny walked away from the weekend with the series lead on 137 points. D’Alberto sits second on 123 while Cameron occupies third on 119.
The TCR Australia Series returns for round two on May 12-14 at Phillip Island.
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