Dylan O’Keeffe has emerged as a genuine challenger for the 2022 Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia title after recording GWR Australia’s best-ever round result in the premier Porsche category, second overall, at The Bend on the weekend.
O’Keeffe qualified second and recorded finishes of second, second and third in the three races to secure the runner-up spot for the round, moving up to second in the standings and closing to within 46 points of the championship lead. He paid credit to the GWR team for a clever decision on tyre strategy in qualifying.
“Heading into qualifying, the track temperature was very low, so we knew it would be critical to set the tyre pressures correctly and have enough laps to get them up to the optimum temperature,” O’Keeffe said.
“As it turned out, my engineer Dejan absolutely nailed the timing and I was able to start my final lap of the session just before the chequered flag came out. My lap was good enough to put my on the front row of the grid and only a fraction slower than the pole time.
“With the cars being so evenly-matched, qualifying is critical so it really set up our weekend.”
GWR’s other Pro Class driver in the event, Michael Almond, endured a tougher weekend which started with a rear wing end-plate failure in qualifying; he moved up to 15th in Race 1 and had broken into the top 10 in Race 2 before spinning out of contention.
Almond finished the weekend on a more positive note with 10th in the final.
In his first drive aboard the Type 992 Porsche GT3, Indiran Padayachee steadily improved over the weekend and was involved in some good battles with his fellow Pro-Am Class drivers; while he had a tyre failure in Race 2, he recovered strongly for seventh in Race 3.
“I had a lot of fun this weekend; the new car is quite different to drive compared to the old 991, so I had to change my technique accordingly, but by the end of the weekend I was feeling comfortable with it,” Padayachee said.
“The problem is, now I have to un-learn everything for when I jump back in the 991 for Sprint Challenge next weekend!”
Team boss Garth Walden said it was a weekend of ups and downs.
“The performance from Dylan was obviously the highlight, and this is the first time GWR has been in a position where we’re fighting for the Carrera Cup title, so it’s very exciting for us,” Walden said.
“Indiran had a lot of fun in the Pro-Am Class and adapted well to the new car. Unfortunately, it was a tougher weekend for Michael, which started when the rear wing failed in qualifying and it was hard to recover from there.
“But with Dylan doing such a great job and running consistently at the front of the field, we’re gathering valuable knowledge that we can apply to our other drivers and cars.”
The sixth round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will be held at Sandown, 19-21 August; GWR’s attention now turns to next weekend, where the team will be running cars in the Radical Cup Australia and Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge at Queensland Raceway, and NSW Production Touring Cars at Sydney Motorsport Park.