MEDIA RELEASE/TCR Australia - Photos: Velocity Magazine THE SUPERCHEAP Auto TCR Australia Series has confirmed…
The 2023 AWC Race Tasmania became a race of attrition across most categories in the Shannons Speed Series. Title aspirants in the Supercheap Auto TCR Series, S5000 Drivers Championship and Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters were sidelined as mechanical gremlins struck with gay abandon.
Home town hero and multi TCM champions, John Bowe fell one lap shy of a finish in the Trophy race as mechanical issues scuttled his hopes for a fairytale beginning to his farewell tour.
Steven Johnson had set the pace in practice, while it was Ryan Hansford who wore down early leader Marcus Zukanovic for the win from Danny Buzadzic. Andrew Fisher rounded out the top 3 in the Jesus Racing Torana.
Fisher doubled up on the result to trail Johnson to the chequered flag in the second race of the weekend for the TCM brigade, with Hansford the third of six cars to complete the race.
Joey Mawson cruised to a comfortable victory in the opening race after the 2nd and 3rd placed qualifiers, James Golding and Roberto Merhi were forced to start from the pitlane. A broken rotor was found in the Golding entry, while Merhi’s car was found to have a damaged wishbone less than thirty minutes prior to the race start.
Despite the best efforts of the GRM crews, both drivers were late to the grid and therefore started the race from pit exit.
Mawson withstood early pressure from Aaron Cameron and Cooper Webster to edge away as the race progressed. The trio finishing in that order. Golding moved up to 6th, while Merhi ended the race in 9th.
A reverse grid order for race 2 may well favour Golding as he looks to move back up the order, while Merhi may miss out on a better starting position having just missed pole position for race 2.
James Moffat got the jump on Ben Grice at the start of the opening Transam race of the weekend and remained in control throughout the Safety Car interrupted race. Grice held on to 2nd while Tim Slade got the better of Owen Kelly late race for 3rd. Cody Gillis and Elliot Barber stopped durning the course of the race, while Mark Crutcher failed to make the race start after a last minute issue saw the yellow Mustang stop in the pit lane.
Bailey Sweeny was given an ideal passage to the lead at the start of the Supercheap Auto TCR Series opening race when pole sitter Will Brown failed to leave the garage.
The Audi RS3 LMS TCR cars of Will Brown and Zac Soutar both suffered from driveshaft failures. Soutar unable to post a time in the second phase of qualifying after snapping the component in session 1. Brown made it through both Q1 and Q2 with a best of 56.2711, only to sit out the race when the same problem arose for the Liqui Moly entry.
It had been reported that both cars were out for the weekend as neither team had spare components, though Velocity Motorsport Magazine has been told that there still remains some hope. A local engineering firm has been sourced to try and press and sleeve the snapped components as a compromise repair.
In the absence of Brown, Bailey Sweeny took full advantage of his front row start and held the inside line into Turn 2. Aaron Cameron tried to sweep around the outside only to run out of room and dropped a wheel into the grass at the exit of Turn 2.
Tony D’alberto swooped into 2nd place while Cody Garland also displaced his teammate from 3rd. Ben Bargwanna and Cameron fought to close the gap to the leaders but had to settle for 4th and 5th respectfully.
The HMO Customer Racing team had worked overnight to cure a power delivery issue in the #30 Hyundai i30 N Sedan and Josh Buchan had finished qualifying well inside the Top10. A post-qualifying check had found an issue with the boost level on Buchan’s car and he subsequently found himself as the rear of the field for the start of the race. Buchan had clawed his way back into 6th place, before a late race miscue saw Jordan Cox reclaim 6th in the closing laps.
Sweeny won from D’alberto and Garland. Bargwanna, Cameron, Cox, Buchan, Oliphant, Mineeff and Clemente completed the top 10.
A reverse grid format for race 2 may also play in the hands of Buchan and Cameron.
Racing continues for the National categories just before midday with overcast conditions and the chance of showers forecast for the afternoon.
For all our news keep your eyes peeled on the Velocity Magazine website and social media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for our daily updates and to get the latest edition of our glossy magazine subscribe here from just $55 for 12 months subscription.