In the second event of TCR Australia at Phillip Island, Josh Buchan won two races from three in his HMO Customer Racing Hyundai Elantra N, while Michael Clemente was victorious in Race 2, scoring his and CUPRA’s maiden win in the series on the first Australian appearance of the Leon Competición.
In the Drivers’ championship, Buchan’s teammate Bailey Sweeny retained the lead in his Hyundai i30 N, but he is chased by the pair of Jordan Cox and Aaron Cameron in the Garry Rogers Motorsport Peugeot 308 cars who are 22 and 23 points behind respectively, while Buchan moved up to fourth, five further points adrift,
Race 1 – Buchan started well from pole and led, while Zac Soutar who was alongside him was passed by Tony D’Alberto. Points leader Sweeny made a bad start from P4 and dropped down, with Ben Bargwanna and Will Brown moving up to fourth and fifth. As Buchan pulled away, Brown dropped down and then retired with a rear suspension failure. Sweeny elbowed his way up, while Lachlan Mineeff who had started from P12 overtook Cameron for P5 in lap 5. Two laps later Mineeff passed Bargwanna for P4, with the latter defending P5 from Cameron; at the same time, Soutar retired from P3 with misfiring issues. In lap 8, both Cameron and Sweeny passed Bargwanna, advancing to fourth and fifth respectively. In lap 11, Tom Oliphant’s debutant Lynk & Co stopped in a run-off area and pitted for a tyre change. In the final stages, Buchan was leading comfortably, while D’Alberto defended the second position from Mineeff, with Cameron and Sweeny fighting for P4. In lap 14, Mineeff passed D’Alberto to finish second, and then the reigning champion slowed with a flat front tyre and pitted, which promoted Cameron to third.
Race 2 –Cox and Brad Harris shared the front row and led the field at the start, but in lap 1, Harris was passed by Clemente, Bargwanna and Kody Garland. Clemente closed on Cox who made a mistake that vanished his leading margin. One lap later, Mineeff went wide onto the gravel and dropped from fifth to 13th. There was a close fight for P5 between Cameron and Sweeny who had both passed Garland, while at the back of the field D’Alberto, Brown and Buchan were struggling to recover. In lap 6, Sweeny finally passed Cameron for P5, but the focus switched on the fight for the lead, with Cox struggling to keep Clemente behind. Eventually, Clemente muscled his way past into the lead during the final lap and won by half-a-second, with Bargwanna third and Harris fourth.
Race 3 – Buchan led from the pole ahead of Clemente, Bargwanna and Sweeny; the latter was passed by Cox and Cameron during the first lap, but soon recovered P5 from Cameron who was chased by a charging Brown. However, in lap 5, Soutar passed Brown for P6. Buchan built a small gap, while Clemente defended the second place, leading a train of six cars that was formed by Bargwanna, Cox, Sweeny, Cameron and Soutar. The race became processional, and positions did not change further. Buchan claimed his second win of the weekend, edging Clemente by a bit less than a second, with Bargwanna third ahead of Cox and Sweeny.
The next event will be at Winton on 9/11 June.
Phillip Island – Race 1
1. Josh Buchan (HMO Customer Racing, Hyundai Elantra N), 16 laps
2. Lachlan Mineef (Forza Brakes Motorsport, Audi RS 3 LMS), 2.1612
3. Aaron Cameron (Team Valvoline GRM, Peugeot 308), 4.6332
Phillip Island – Race 2
1. Michael Clemente (Carl Cox Motorsports, CUPRA Leon Competición), 12 laps
2. Jordan Cox (Schaeffler GRM, Peugeot 308), 0.5372
3. Ben Bargwanna (Burson Auto Parts Racing GRM, Peugeot 308), 2.3868
Phillip Island – Race 3
1. Josh Buchan (HMO Customer Racing, Hyundai Elantra N), 14 laps
2. Michael Clemente (Carl Cox Motorsports, CUPRA Leon Competición), 0.934
3. Ben Bargwanna (Burson Auto Parts Racing GRM, Peugeot 308), 2.3345
1. B. Sweeny, 252 pts; 2. J. Cox, 230; 3. A. Cameron, 229
Picture: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz