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D’Alberto’s first impressions of new Honda weapon

TCR Australia champion Tony D’Alberto has been armed with an all-new Honda which he hopes can give him a better shot at vying for race wins.

D’Alberto has spent today testing the Civic Type R FL5 TCR at Sydney Motorsport Park and is optimistic based on his initial impressions.

“It’s very different to the previous model but it feels very nice to drive,” the 2022 title winner told V8 Sleuth.

“It’s an evolution of what we had previously. It’s just trying to learn that car today, trying to learn what makes it tick.

“But it is a very, very nice car to drive so I’m very much looking forward to getting into the international races in a couple of weeks and testing it out.

“We had so much information on the previous car and I feel like in some ways we’re starting from scratch a little bit. We have got to generate that knowledge and that’s what this test day is all about.”

While that knowledge gap might make for some short-term pain as he learns the ropes, D’Alberto is sure there will be long-term gain.

“Everything is just a little bit nicer,” he said.

“It feels a little bit nicer through the gearbox, the steering, just all those driver feedback things it seems to have stepped up just that little bit.

“So I’m hoping over a stint in the race that’s going to really help look after the tyre.

“I’m not sure whether it’s going to help us over one-lap pace in qualifying, which we were quite close to the front anyway in, but over a race we seem to hurt our tyre a bit more than others, so I think some of these niceties will help look after that tyre a little bit better.”

Pic: TCR Australia

With two rounds remaining at SMP and Bathurst, both of which will host TCR World Tour competitors, D’Alberto is fourth in the Australian standings and 83 points behind leader Bailey Sweeny.

“It’s definitely recoverable, but we have got to have some strong rounds,” said D’Alberto, who this month claimed his second Bathurst 1000 podium.

“We can’t take a conservative approach into these last two rounds, which we’re not.

“We’ve gone in and got a new car, we’re trying to push ahead and move the team forward. We’re going as hard as we can for these last two races and see whether we can get those points on Bailey and those other guys.

“But also I’m just looking forward to seeing how we stack up against these international guys, I think that’s going to be really interesting.

“It’s going to be exciting for the category as well, to have these drivers come out and race at our tracks and go to Bathurst.

“I think it is just going to add another element to TCR so I think it is going to be a good spectacle and hopefully we can be near the front mixing it with them as well.”

Race Sydney will be held on November 3-4, and the Bathurst International on November 10-12.

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