After a delay in the racing schedule due to heavy rain, Supercheap Auto TCR Australia opened proceedings as Team Valvoline GRM’s Aaron Cameron held on to take victory at Sandown.
In a thrilling finish, MPC AWC Racing’s Jay Hanson attempted a pass at the end of the back straight entering the famous Sandown esses on Cameron, but lost his Audi RS3 LMS TCR resulting in both exiting the track. While Cameron continued, Hanson spun and was left unable to re-join.
Beneficiaries from the incident were teammate Will Brown in the LIQUI MOLY Team MPC Audi RS3 LMS TCR and the Spicers Australia Honda Civic Type R TCR of Zac Soutar, with both finishing on the podium.
Just shy of the top three was Honda Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto as he extended his series lead courtesy of Hanson’s off and chief title rival Jordan Cox finishing down in seventh after qualifying 11th driving the Swyftx GRM Peugeot.
The inclement conditions caught Audi privateer Lachlan Mineeff out on the warm up lap as he spun the Forza Brakes Motorsport entry at Turn 9.
A couple of drivers had tardy starts in Luke King and Iain McDougall as the field went three or four-wide along the front straight. This involved D’Alberto as Hanson and Soutar went three-wide through Turn 1, but all survived.
The big mover during the opening lap was GRM Racing’s James Moffat as he scythed his way to 10th in the Renault Megane RS TCR.
Cameron was under constant pressure from the two Audis of Hanson and Brown for the duration as Schaeffler GRM Peugeot’s Dylan O’Keeffe caused the first safety car as a technical problem forced him to stop on the back straight.
A superb restart from Cameron after two lap safety car period ensured he was temporarily out of danger from the two Audis. The field almost managed to get through Turn 1 cleanly, but Valvoline Racing GRM’s Kody Garland tangled with privateer Michael Clemente, who became stuck in his Honda Civic Type R TCR as the Renault continued.
King meanwhile returned to pit lane after a front driveshaft failed on the warm up lap in his Moutai/ZIP PAY Hyundai i30 N TCR.
Just as the weather began to worsen, the race entered its conclusion on lap 12 as it was Hanson this time with the better restart and he attempted to make use of it, until his spin.
Behind the top four, Josh Buchan did his title aspirations no harm by finishing fifth in the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai from Autoglym-supported Ashley Seward Motorsport’s Michael Caruso, Cox, Bailey Sweeny, Moffat and Ben Bargwanna.
By finishing 10th, Bargwanna in the Burson Auto Parts Racing Peugeot will start from pole for Race 2.
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series action continues tomorrow at 12:55pm for Race 2 ahead of the final event at 4:10pm.
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will contest two further races at Sandown as part of the SpeedSeries event also including the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters and the final round for the Turtle Wax Trans Am Series.
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