April 15, 2021 | General

REVIEW & ANALYSIS: The TCR Australia points battle at the half way mark

We’ve hit the half way mark of the 2021 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, and the big question that is on everybody’s mind is “Can anyone beat Chaz Mostert?”

The Bostik Audi RS 3 driver has been the form man having finished on the podium in seven of the nine races so far, and winning five of the last six races heading to the fourth round at Sydney Motorsport Park on May 1-2.

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CLICK HERE for full series points after Round 3.

The former Bathurst 1000 winner’s amazing form has netted him a handy 63 point lead, leaving him over a ‘race and a half’ clear of nearest rival Aaron Cameron in the Garry Rogers Motorsport-prepared Valvoline Peugeot 308.

Cameron, now in his second year of TCR Australia competition, is regarded as one of the rising stars on the local scene, and is proving his worth with some outstanding results in the fast but fickle Peugeot machine.

The Victorian finished second in all three races at the recent event at Bathurst, and could have had other podium results to his name at both Symmons Plains and Phillip Island, if not for minor mechanical gremlins.

Third is Mostert’s team-mate Luke King. The former Toyota 86 champion was a surprise stand-out in the opening two rounds, claiming podiums and applause for taking the fight up to his highly-credentialed team-mate.

While he was not able to match Mostert or Bathurst Audi driver Garth Tander for pace at the daunting Mount Panorama, he banked enough points to remain in the fight for the title.

Wall Racing’s leading driver John Martin sits fourth, in what would be a surprise place after the lack of pace shown at Symmons Plains.

Martin, along with the other three Civic Type Rs, were simply not in the Tasmanian fight as the car’s current form did not suit the Symmons layout.

At Phillip Island however, the tables turned. Martin and his team-mate Tony D’Alberto finished the round with the equal most points, springing both back into contention.

At Bathurst, Martin collected a string of top sixes and sits fourth, while D’Alberto was beaten from pillar to post in two incidents that have left him in an uncustomary 11th.

Fifth and sixth in the title chase is Alfa Romeo duo Jordan Cox (GRM) and Lee Holdsworth (Ash Seward Motorsport).

Both drivers started with a flurry of top results at Symmons Plains, and have remained in contention in most other races, although incidents for Cox at Phillip Island and mechanical hiccups for Holdsworth, including an onboard fire at Bathurst, means they will need everything to go their way to get back to the very top.

The Burson Auto Parts entry of Phillip Island race winner Jason Bargwanna sits in seventh place, and save for his dramatic brake failure at Symmons Plains that wiped out James Moffat at Symmons Plains, Bargwanna’s results have been consistent and competitive.

Rounding out the top 10 at the half way mark is a trio of Hyundai i30 Ns, led by HMO Customer Racing’s Nathan Morcom, Tilton privateer Brad Sheils and the second HMO car of Josh Buchan.

Morcom and Buchan have both claimed a podium each, although the reigning champion squad has not figured as prominently as it did during the inaugural season that saw Will Brown claim the title.

Outside the 10, entries of note include Ben Bargwanna, who for a touring car rookie is edging closer to outstanding result, while Honda privateer Michael Clemente is also taking some big scalps, despite a mishap at Bathurst when he copped the wrath of the stewards after cleaning up D’Alberto at Hell Corner in the last race.

While the pace of the Renaults have not been at the level many predicted, both Dylan O’Keeffe and James Moffat (15th and 16th respectively) are confident that the tables will turn in their favour, possibly as soon as Sydney Motorsport Park in two weeks time.

CLICK HERE to secure your tickets.

CLICK HERE for full series points after Round 3.

But the driver who has been dealt the hardest of luck is Michael Caruso. The Valvoline Alfa Romeo star had a shocker at Symmons Plains after he failed to get his car off the line in Race 1, before a wall-crunching incident in Race 2.

Phillip Island didn’t get much better for him with fogged windscreens and untimely mechanical issues, and Bathurst was simply not much better, taking just one top 10 result.

Caruso sits a lowly 18th in the points, but the feisty New South Welshman loves nothing more than a challenge, and will be keen to impress his local fans in Sydney.