O’Keeffe begins new Series on high

The carsales TCR Australia SimRacing Series has got off to a strong start as Ben Bargwanna and Dylan O’Keeffe shared the spoils in an entertaining opening round at Albert Park.

With 13 competitors from Australia and New Zealand taking part in the new virtual series’ season opener, the two drivers were the standout performers across the night with both winning one race each.

Filling in for his father Jason as a late replacement, Bargwanna was the first one to strike, converting his pole position to victory over John Martin, Jaden Ransley and O’Keeffe.

Despite Bargwanna leading for the whole race, the four drivers were locked in a tight battle for much for the race and the youngster was thrilled to take out the win.

“It was crazy. I was trying to stay out of it, trying to stay clean,” Bargwanna said.

“The racing has been good, clean, and people are taking more time with their passing moves and the way they position the cars on track. It was great to take the win.”

O’Keeffe managed to get his first win of the new campaign in the second race after trailing Peter Vodanovich for much of the race, overtaking the New Zealander on the penultimate lap and never looking back.

“That was pretty enjoyable,” O’Keeffe said after his win.

“To catch Peter, it was five or six qualifying laps on the limit. After the first flyer, I was taking six-tenths a lap so I knew I was going to get close, but I needed to keep up the pace.

“Race one wasn’t the best from myself, but from a sim point of view, it was awesome racing and shows how competitive the field is. It was good fun and hopefully good for everyone to watch.”

The two drivers were dominant in the reverse-grid race with quite a distance separating them from Luke King, who claimed a well deserved third place ahead of Ransley.

With Bargwanna rounding out the top five, O’Keeffe finished the night at the top of the standings ahead of next’s week second round at Mount Panorama.