Bailey Sweeny hopeful of maintaining series leading momentum
Hyundai ace Bailey Sweeny says that he hopes to be able to continue his race winning form after claiming two race wins, and the series lead, after the opening round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series at Symmons Plains.
Sweeny proved he will be a genuine title contender in his sophomore season with HMO Customer Racing, winning two of the three 30-lap races from the front row of the grid and setting the fastest lap in his Hyundai i30 N TCR.
The 20-year-old from Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast, who finished fifth and won the rookie of the year award in his debut season last year, qualified in third position but started the opening race unchallenged at the front of the field after a mechanical issue ruled out polesitter Will Brown and a technical infringement sent team-mate, Josh Buchan, to the rear of the field from second place.
Sweeny went on to score a dominant lights-to-flag victory in the first race and greeted the chequered flag 7.6 seconds clear of reigning TCR Australia champion, Tony D’Alberto.
In Race 2, Sweeny continued to showcase his speed and marched through the field to finish sixth, which gave him the highest aggregate pointscore to start the final race from pole position.
Even though he dropped two positions on the opening lap, Sweeny clawed back to the front by the middle of the race and then built a comfortable lead to take his fourth individual race victory and score his second successive TCR Australia round following his maiden win at the 2022 season finale, the Bathurst International at Mount Panorama, last November.
As a result, Sweeny leads the 2023 TCR Australia Championship standings for the first time with 137 points, 14 ahead of D’Alberto.
“I couldn’t ask for a better way to start the championship, with two race wins and leading the championship for the first time. It’s my second round victory in a row,” said Sweeny.
“We showed last year that the momentum was building from the middle of the season, which we’ve put into effect right from the start of this year. Hopefully we can continue be among the front runners at Phillip Island and be consistent to stay at the top of the ladder.”
The second round of the 2023 TCR Australia Championship will be held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on May 12-14.