Champion-in-waiting driven to prove doubters wrong

Unlike football or rugby where players turn up to teams with sponsors aplenty, motorsport often requires the athletes to do the hard yards themselves.

In the case of TCR Australia Series points leader Tony D’Alberto, that meant getting Honda to support his bid to win a touring car title.

However, the Japanese manufacturer initially wasn’t keen to come onboard when D’Alberto pitched the idea in 2018.

Stan Sport is the only place to watch the 2022 SpeedSeries. All the action streaming ad-free, live and on demand

In the end, the iconic brand got behind the Wall Racing driver, though it’s been a turbulent three seasons since joining.

His first, in 2019, saw him finish runner-up to HMO Customer Racing’s Will Brown.

After the 2020 season was culled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, D’Alberto returned in 2021 where he endured a season to forget.

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Having missed the season finale due to a clash with the Bathurst 1000, he wound up 14th overall.

This year, it’s been a near-dream run. Podiums have been forthcoming and top 10 finishes have been plentiful.

After three years of waiting, he finally got his first win at Queensland Raceway which quickly became two.

For D’Alberto, the prospect of closing out this year’s TCR Australia Series title is one that carries plenty of sentimental weight.

“We’ve been on this journey for a few years now with Honda, all my other supporters, Wall Racing,” D’Alberto told Wide World of Sports.

“Everyone has been there from the start and it would just be really nice to grab this opportunity.

“It’s not easy to get to this point. I think TCR as a category is really hard to put a year together.

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“Especially with all the BOP [Balance of Performance] changes and adjustments in the season, to be in this position now is amazing.

“I’d really love to try and grab it and finish the job this weekend, not just for myself, but everyone that has come along for the journey.

“When I first pitched the idea to Honda many years ago, back in 2018, they weren’t onboard.

“I had to try really hard to get them onboard and to see the progression of that and how much enjoyment they get out of it, it would just be good to repay some of that faith along the way.”

The season comes to a conclusion at the Bathurst International which forms the final leg of this year’s SpeedSeries.

Mount Panorama is, without doubt, the most iconic motor racing venue in the country.

Signing off the season with the title win standing atop the iconic podium that overlooks the main straight is something that D’Alberto hopes he can do in a matter of days.

“It’s obviously one of the most enjoyable,” said D’Alberto of the circuit.

“We love going to Bathurst. I see that as a special place to finish the year off. It would be a nice place to stand on the podium and hold the trophy as well.”

The TCR Australia Series GT will be part of a blockbuster card across November 11-13, which will be shown live and ad-free on Stan Sport.

The Nine Network will also offer live free-to-air coverage on Saturday afternoon

GT World Challenge Australia will also form part of the support program alongside three V8 categories including Trans Am, Touring Car Masters, and S5000.

Porsche Sprint Challenge, Australian Production Car Series and the Bathurst Sportscar Challenge complete the line-up.

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