Néstor Girolami completes perfect weekend as Will Brown is champion

Néstor Girolami completes perfect weekend as Will Brown is champion

Néstor Girolami
Photo: TCR Australia

Néstor Girolami completed a perfect weekend in his first TCR Australia outing, winning race three at Sandown Raceway ahead of Garth Tander and Andre Heimgartner as HMO’s Will Brown secured the drivers’ title a round early.

Girolami once again completed a dominant lights-to-flag victory, as the rest of the pack fought ferociously behind him.

Girolami’s Honda team-mate Tony D’Alberto initially moved up to second when the lights went out, but Tander then took second on lap two as D’Alberto struggled to keep pace with Girolami at the front.

D’Alberto then acted as a cork in the bottle in third, holding up a chasing pack of Aaron Cameron, Jason Bright, Bryce Fullwood and Heimgartner.

Fullwood and Bright got past Cameron for fourth and fifth on lap four, whilst Heimgartner then took Bright for fifth on lap six.

D’Alberto continued to hold the pack up for another seven laps until Heimgartner passed him at Turn 1, having got past his team-mate a couple of laps earlier.

The order in the top five would remain unchanged thereafter, despite Tander’s best efforts in cutting the margin to Girolami at the front.

By finishing third, Heimgartner scored his first podium in the series, ahead of D’Alberto in fourth and Bright in fifth, after Fullwood made a mistake with two laps to go.

UPDATE: Heimgartner was subsequently handed a post-race 15-second penalty for having been adjudged to have passed D’Alberto under yellow flags, handing third to D’Alberto and dropping Heimgartner to eighth.

Jordan Cox had initially got into fifth late in the race after passing Bright on lap 17, but the Alfa Romeo driver went off on the final lap.

Fullwood took sixth, ahead of Melbourne Performance’s Cameron in seventh.

Brown, knowing he could secure the title in this race, had a nightmare first lap, as the Hyundai driver spun out at Turn 3 on the opening lap and dropped to the very back of the pack. He then put in a spirited drive to recover to eighth to secure the title with a round to spare.

GRM’s James Moffat started the race in third but slipped back early on and took the chequered flag in ninth, whilst Nathan Morcom completed the top ten.

After picking up accident damage in race two, neither John Martin nor Russell Ingall took the start in race three.

Brown (623 points) secured the title by a comfortable 142 points from O’Keeffe (481 points), who has to fight to hold on to second from D’Alberto (469 points).

The final round of TCR Australia takes place at The Bend Motorsport Park on 15 – 17 November.

Amended race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 38 Néstor GIROLAMI Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR 20 25:17.9768 1:14.966 1
2 4 Garth TANDER Melbourne Performance Audi RS3 LMS TCR 20 0.467 1:15.085 2
3 50 Tony D’ALBERTO Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR 20 4.556 1:14.718 4
4 8 Jason BRIGHT Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 7.460 1:14.994 6
5 37 Bryce FULLWOOD Kelly Racing Holden Astra TCR 20 7.816 1:14.863 9
6 16 Aaron CAMERON Melbourne Performance Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 10.091 1:15.087 5
7 30 Will BROWN HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR 20 16.936 1:14.686 7
8 777 Andre HEIMGARTNER Kelly Racing Holden Astra TCR 20 17.760 1:14.762 12
9 34 James MOFFAT Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR 20 24.660 1:15.212 3
10 11 Nathan MORCOM HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR 20 42.134 1:15.497 14
11 9 Dylan O’KEEFFE Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 20 1:13.989 1:16.704 8
12 97 Liam MCADAM Melbourne Performance Audi RS3 LMS TCR 18 + 2 LAPS 1:16.432 10
R 38 Jordan COX Garry Rogers Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 19 DNF 1:14.618 13
R 35 Alexandra WHITLEY Melbourne Performance Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 DNF 1:17.347 16
NS 33 Chris PITHER Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR DNS N/A 11
NS 24 John MARTIN Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR DNS N/A 15
NS 100 Russell INGALL Melbourne Performance Audi RS3 LMS TCR DNS N/A 17