Josh Buchan takes the honours in first Supercheap Auto TCR Australia night race
Leading from start-to-finish, HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan has won the first Supercheap Auto TCR Australia race at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Buchan led home Garry Rogers Motorsport duo Aaron Cameron and Jordan Cox, as title contender Will Brown retired due to a broken shock absorber.
It was a Peugeot assault at the start as Cameron in the Valvoline Team GRM 308 TCR was joined by stablemates Cox and Dylan O’Keeffe in attacking polesitter Buchan in the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR as well as LIQUI MOLY Team MPC Audi driver Will Brown.
Brown was slow off the start as Cameron bolted onto the rear of Buchan, while O’Keeffe and Cox worked on Brown during the opening lap. Also buying in was the privateer Honda Civic Type R TCR of Zac Soutar, who swapped position with Schaeffler Peugeot of O’Keeffe for much of the opening stanza.
It wasn’t long though until Brown found his mojo to return to second and was catching leader Buchan until a suspension problem dropped him out of the battle on lap 6.
This elevated Cameron back into second holding a comfortable margin from Cox, O’Keeffe, Soutar and Luke King in the Moutai/ZIP PAY Hyundai i30 N TCR, who was holding off series leader Tony D’Alberto.
However, after qualifying second then being penalised five grid positions for an engine change prior to qualifying, Nathan Morcom in his HMO Customer Racing Hyundai had failed to make inroads, but demoted D’Alberto to eighth.
Behind, Fabian Coulthard had made moves early including on the Autoglym Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR of Michael Caruso, though had a battle on his hands with Valvoline Racing GRM’s Kody Garland in the Renault Megane RS TCR.
But this ended quickly as Garland and Coulthard tangled at Turn 2, elevating both Royal Purple Racing’s Brad Shiels as well as Caruso into the top 10.
But again this changed when Caruso’s Alfa Romeo suffered a flat tyre putting Jay Hanson in his repaired Audi RS3 LMS TCR assuming not only 10th, but pole for tomorrow’s second race.
At the front it was all Buchan as he took victory number one for the season by 0.9s from Cameron and Cox.
O’Keeffe continued his run of good form in fourth from Soutar, Morcom, King, D’Alberto, Shiels and Hanson will start tomorrow’s Race 2 from pole after holding off HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny.
Motul Honda privateer Michael Clemente recovered from a loose moment through Turn 1 to finish 12th ahead of Purple Sector’s Lachlan Mineeff in the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, the LMCT+ Racing GRM Renault Megane RS TCR of James Moffat and after a spin on the warm lap, Braydan Willmington was 15th in the privateer Alfa Romeo.
Iain McDougall stayed out of trouble to be 16th in the Challenge Motorsport Audi as behind there was a tale of woe with Coulthard 17th from Garland after a pit stop.
Ben Bargwanna struggled with an ECU malady in 19th as Caruso trailed after losing a lap replacing his wheel.
Tomorrow’s action begins with the inverted top 10 of Race 2 at 11:20am ahead of the finale at 4:10pm AEST.