Michelisz Masters the Mountain, Australian Title Blown Wide Open
Norbert Michelisz has claimed the second Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series and Kumho TCR World Tour race at Mount Panorama, whilst Bailey Sweeny was not classified as the TCR Australia title fight was turned on it’s head at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.
Sweeny would slow on the first lap as an intercooler hose came lose on his Hyundai, and would not complete enough laps to be classified, allowing HMO Customer Racing teammate Josh Buchan to take the championship lead with a third place finish in TCR Australia.
Buchan made a poor start from third on the grid, and was boxed around by the World Tour runners in the opening laps, but would benefit from the misfortunes of Will Brown, Zac Soutar, and Jordan Cox to claim both a podium and a nineteen-point championship lead.
Brown would suffer a gearbox issue on his Audi when running second of the Australian runners on lap six, forcing the MPC Team LIQUI MOLY entry out on the spot, and promoting Buchan to fifth in TCR Australia.
Soutar would be the next one to find trouble, suffering a puncture across the top of the mountain a few laps later when battling with Race One TCR Australia winner Tony D’Alberto at the back end of the outright top ten.
Buchan would make the TCR Australia podium when Jordan Cox slowed in the last laps when his Schaeffler GRM Peugeot developed an engine problem whilst running third in TCR Australia and tenth outright.
Whilst Buchan made a poor start, the same couldn’t be said for Aaron Cameron and Frederic Vervisch, who jumped pole sitter Michelisz on the run to Hell Corner from second and fourth on the grid respectively.
Michelisz would then throw his Hyundai down the inside of Vervisch’s Audi at Griffins Bend, as the Team Valvoline GRM Peugeot of Cameron pulled away to a significant gap in the opening laps.
The Hungarian would slowly close the gap to Cameron, and by lap four the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse entry would find it’s way to the lead with a move down the inside of The Chase.
Vervisch would get by the Peugeot as well, and the top three would remain steady until the final lap when team orders from Audi Sport Comtoyou forced Vervisch to fall behind Cameron and allow teammate Rob Huff to gain a position.
This created some wild racing between the Comtoyou Audis and the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s of Thed Bjork and Yann Ehrlacher, with Bjork promoted to the outright podium and second of the World Tour entries, with Huff behind.
Cameron finished seven places ahead of next best Australian runner Tony D’Alberto, and roared back into championship contention himself only twenty-four points behind Buchan, and five behind Sweeny in second.
The 2023 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series champion will be crowned this afternoon, with the final Australian race of the 2023 Kumho TCR World Tour beginning at 4:10pm AEDT.
You can catch all the action live, ad break free, and on demand on Stan Sport.