New Race 2 format can make or break a weekend
HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan believes the new inverted top 10 format for Race 2 this year plays a major part in how a driver’s fortunes at each round.
In HMO Customer Racing’s case it enabled the team to break the ‘Hyundai hoodoo’ at Bathurst where previously the Hyundai i30 N TCR had struggled.
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However, young gun Bailey Sweeny dominated Race 2 after memorably passing Tony D’Alberto and James Moffat at The Chase, while Buchan backed him up for third. Another podium followed in the final race as Sweeny took second in a breakout weekend.
Buchan emphasised how the format of Race 2 can completely change the tone of a weekend.
“Obviously, the reverse top 10 in Race 2 helped us massively,” said Buchan.
“Without that, it would be a struggle to get to the front, but the second reverse grid event really sets up your weekend.
“It’s the weekend we should have had at Phillip Island and it goes to show in TCR the guys who are meant to win might not always, then the guys who do the right thing stay out of trouble to get a result.”
Next stop on the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia calendar is Sydney Motorsport Park, a strong venue for both Hyundai and Buchan after he just fell short of a clean-sweep last year. Buchan is cautiously optimistic of his chances as he highlighted the added unpredictability of Race 2’s inverted top 10 as major difference compared to the category’s last visit.
“Home track, it’s probably my strongest circuit and I think the car’s strongest circuit,” he said.
“We might qualify well and do well in Race 1, but this all changes for Race 2. Let’s just see what happens because it’s as much guess work for me as it is the people watching on Stan Sport.”
One thing Buchan is sure of is the new Michelin tyre and how it has improved the Hyundai as he credited it for the faster times witnessed at Bathurst.
“I think the car was a top six-seven car on outright pace,” Buchan reflected on Bathurst.
“That’s down to the new Michelin tyre, it brings our car alive a bit. With how twitchy it normally is the new tyres provide us a little more rear grip to give us confidence across the top.
“It was bloody fast across the top I tell you!”
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series headlines the third round of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships where fellow Australian Racing Group categories the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship, Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters and Turtle Wax Trans Am Series feature.
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, the Australian Production Car Series, Radical Cup and the Australian Prototype Series complete a stacked program of categories.
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All the action can be viewed live and uninterrupted on Stan Sport, while a highlights package will be broadcast after the event on 9Gem (times to be advised).