Brown wins twice, but Harris is the Queensland’s hero
13 August 2023
Will Brown was the dominant force in TCR Australia at Queensland Raceway; he claimed the pole and won races 1 and 3 in his Melbourne Performance Centre Audi, adding a third position in the second race that was won by Brad Harris who was the hero of the weekend. At the wheel of his Wall Racing-run Honda Civic, Harris took a well-deserved maiden victory, performing a faultless defensive drive under huge pressure from Aaron Cameron and Brown.
In the battle for the title, there was a change at the top, with HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan moving into P1. His teammate and former leader Bailey Sweeny experienced a difficult weekend and lost 25 points after his exclusion from Race 1; so now Buchan leads him by one point, with Cameron third, 32 points behind.
Race 1 – Brown had dominated Qualifying, setting the pole with a lap of 1:13.7221, and beating Sweeny by 17 hundredths of a second, while Tony D’Alberto and Tim Slade filled the second row. The second spot of the grid was left empty as Sweeny’s Hyundai i30 waited at the exit of the pit lane due to a battery issue; however the car refused to fire up and Sweeny joined two laps down. At the start, Slade’s Lynk & Co stalled on P3, while Brown led the field from D’Alberto and Jordan Cox. In lap 3, Zac Soutar overtook Cox for third, while Cameron who had started from the back following a suspension failure in Qualifying, elbowed his way through the field up to P7. Buchan too was recovering from P8 and began chasing the fourth-placed Cox. Up front, Brown pulled away, leaving D’Alberto defending P2 from Soutar. Brown took the chequered flag 10 seconds before D’Alberto, with Soutar completing the podium. Sweeny finished 13th but was then excluded because his car had not started under its own power.
Race 2 – Harris had the pole of the top-ten reversed grid, with Michael Clemente alongside. It was Clemente who sprinted to the lead while Harris kept Cameron at bay and retook the first place at the beginning of lap 2. After starting from P10, Brown climbed to fourth by lap 3, and began chasing Cameron who muscled his way past Clemente for second in lap 4. One lap later, Brown too passed Clemente moving into third, while the sixth-placed Kody Garland went wide and dropped to 13th. The pair of Cameron and Brown gnawed at Harris’ leading margin, and by lap 13 they were right behind him. However, Harris managed to keep his rivals at bay for the remaining eight laps, claiming his maiden win by 48 hundredths over Cameron, with Brown third a further five tenths behind.
Race 3 – Brown was on pole having scored the greatest number of points, with D’Alberto on P2. Brown led at the start, while Cameron and Cox from the second row rushed by D’Alberto. The latter pushed Cox wide during the first lap, advancing to third; moments later Cox made contact with Harris and was then spun off by Buchan. With Cox’s Peugeot stranded on the gravel, the safety car was deployed. Racing resumed in lap 6, with Brown leading from Cameron, D’Alberto and Harris. Brown ran away from Cameron, while Ben Bargwanna passed Slade for P5 and D’Alberto was notified a ten-second penalty for the incident with Cox. In lap 11, D’Alberto lost two places to Harris and Bargwanna who moved up to third and fourth. Two laps later, Sweeny passed Buchan for P7, while the pace of Bargwanna’s Peugeot faded, and he dropped down. After a brief safety car intervention to recover Garland’s Peugeot from the gravel, Brown led the final lap to take his second win of the weekend, with Cameron and Harris behind. D’Alberto was dropped from fourth to 10th by the penalty, which promoted Slade and Sweeny to P4 and P5.
The next event will be at Sandown Park, on September 8/10.
Queensland – Race 1
1. Will Brown (MPC Team Liqui Moly, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 21 laps
2. Tony D’Alberto (Wall Racing, Honda Civic Type R FK7), 10.0142
3. Brad Harris (Wall Racing, Honda Civic Type R FK7), 1.2736
1. J. Buchan, 457 pts; 2. B. Sweeny, 456; 3. A. Cameron, 425
Picture: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz
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