July 8, 2024 | General

Hyundai Charge Back Towards the Top After Tailem Bend Victory

Press Release / Hyundai Australia

Hyundai’s Josh Buchan took his first overall round victory of the 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series with a string of podium finishes at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.

Finishing with two thirds and a second place from three dramatic races, it is only the second time since Buchan joined the TCR series in 2021 that he has finished on the podium in every race during a single round.

His consistent run of form, driving the Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR that took him to the 2024 TCR Australia crown for the first time this season, gave him the overall round victory by just four points and elevated the defending champion to second position on the championship ladder at the halfway point of the season.

Buchan made a cautious start to the weekend’s on-track action and forfeited most of the two 30-minute practice sessions on Friday, which were held in wet and slippery conditions, to protect to his car.

This had no detriment on his speed when it came to qualifying, with Buchan narrowly missing out on pole position by less than 0.2sec as a result of being impeded by a rival driver on his fastest lap.

He was forced to start the opening race in seventh position following a five-place penalty for changing engines mid-season as a consequence of returning to the i30 Sedan N TCR for the first time this season.

He bolted off the line, swerving around the stranded Audi of Zac Soutar just in front of him, and charged into third position during the opening laps, before maintaining a watching brief for the rest of the race over a wheel-banging battle between Jordan Cox and Tony D’Alberto in front.

Buchan got a slow start from eighth place in the second reverse-grid race and dropped positions on the opening lap but clawed his way back onto the podium in third.

Starting from pole position for the final, he again struggled to get off the line with too much wheelspin and fell back into the mid-pack by the first corner. Showcasing his exceptional race craft and the speed of his Hyundai, Buchan sliced through the field with lap record pace but ultimately ran out of laps to catch race winner Soutar by the time the chequered flag fell.

Teammate Tom Oliphant also proved to be one of the fastest drivers in the field, despite having never raced at the fast and flowing 3.4km circuit located just outside of Tailem Bend.

Oliphant took full advantage of practice in spite of the conditions to become familiar with the circuit with the fastest lap in second practice.

In Qualifying, he missed out on a promotion to the Top Six shootout by less than 0.1sec with the seventh fastest time. However, like his teammate, Oliphant also incurred a five-place grid penalty as he switched into the race-winning i30 N TCR that Buchan had driven during the opening three rounds.

Oliphant became embroiled in a number of skirmishes with slower drivers in the opening laps. Once he cleared the mayhem, the Brit matched the leaders’ pace and put up a valiant fight to try and finish 10th and secure a front-row start for the reverse-grid race. But a late lunge in the final stages didn’t pay dividends, and Oliphant finished 11th.

He showed what could have been in the second race, muscling his way through the field and gained seven positions to finish fourth across the line with the fastest lap of the race. However, he incurred a five-second penalty for a collision, which later dropped him back to fifth.

Oliphant started the final race with a potential issue when he received a warning light on his dashboard during the formation laps, which eventually caused him to stop on track after just a few laps and retire the car.

HMO Customer Racing will next head to Queensland Raceway for the fifth round of 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series on August 2-4.

Car 1: i30 Sedan N TCR – Josh Buchan
“What a chaotic weekend it’s been out on track. We’ve got some battle scars on my Hyundai i30 Sedan N TCR after three hectic races, but I’ve also got a bag of trophies to take home with me, which is extremely rare in this category, and the overall round victory which is amazing.

“I’m positive the results could have been ever better – with a couple of race wins potentially – if I had started from the front row in race one and had better starts in the last two races. But we showed the i30 Sedan N TCR is mega-fast, and it’s nice to be back behind the wheel of my championship-winning car and take another step closer to the lead in the driver’s standings.”

Car 15: i30 N TCR – Tom Oliphant
“It was a real up-and-down weekend for me at The Bend. We had some great pace in the car, and it was a shame to miss out on getting into the Top Six during qualifying, because that really put us behind the eight ball with the penalty. I’m confident we would been on the first two rows if we had made it through, and that would have had a massive outcome and potentially changed our weekend completely.

“The second race was a real highlight, coming through from 11th to cross the line in fourth with the fastest lap. The other two races didn’t showcase our potential: we just caught up in avoidable incidents. Overall, I think there’s a lot of positives that give me confidence for better results in the next round at Queensland Raceway next month.”