Garth Tander claimed the first victory for Audi in the TCR Australia series in race one at The Bend Motorsport Park, in a race which saw damp conditions creating exciting racing.
On a damp circuit the start of the race proved to be particularly exciting as pole-sitter James Moffat lost out to Tony D’Alberto in the first sequence of turns, as drivers searched for the grip levels in tricky conditions.
D’Alberto then went off the circuit half-way around the first lap, whilst a few corners later series newcomer Jordan Cox made contact with Moffat’s Renault, spinning the Garry Rogers Motorsport driver out and earning him a ten-second penalty for the incident.
That gave Garth Tander the opportunity to pass Cox for the lead, just before the safety car was called to allow D’Alberto’s Honda to be moved to safety.
Racing resumed on lap four, with Tander leading for the next two laps until the former Supercars racer had a huge half-spin which dropped him to fourth and handed the lead to rookie Cox.
A fierce four-way battle for the lead then followed between Cox, Will Brown, John Martin and Tander, with the latter re-taking third from Brown on lap eighth.
Martin took the lead from Cox at the start of lap 11, with Tander following past three corners later into second. The Audi driver then took the lead at turn 16 and pulled clear for a first TCR win.
Will Brown claimed second in his Hyundai after late-race overheating issues for Martin’s Honda saw him drop back, whilst Aaron Cameron completed the podium, both finishing behind Cox’s Honda on the road but gaining a place after his penalty was applied.
However, Cameron was later penalised for having been deemed to have overtaken Alex Rullo behind the safety car, earning him a 28-second penalty and dropping the Volkswagen driver to 12th in the classification.
Nathan Morcom brought his Hyundai home in fifth, ahead of Chris Pither’s GRM Renault in sixth.
Cox was ultimately classified in seventh after his penalty, initially ahead of D’Alberto’s Honda in eighth after he had been assisted back on to the circuit.
D’Alberto, like Cameron, was also given a post-race penalty, the Honda driver having ten seconds added to his race time for contact with Jimmy Vernon and dropping him to 13th.
Moffat and Alex Rullo’s battle-scarred Holden Astra completed the top ten, the latter benefitting from a post-race five-second penalty for Leanne Tander for a starting infringement.
Championship challenger Dylan O’Keeffe retired to the pits after nine laps with steam emanating from the bonnet of his Alfa Romeo.
Races two and three take place on Sunday at 12:45 and 13:50 local time (04:15 and 05:50 BST, 05:15 and 06:50 CEST).
Revised race result
|1||4||Garth TANDER||Melbourne Performance||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||27:52.7479||1:58.663||4|
|2||30||Will BROWN||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||12||1.001||1:58.954||16|
|3||24||John MARTIN||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||12||7.430||1:58.483||7|
|4||11||Nathan MORCOM||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||12||8.825||1:59.160||6|
|5||33||Chris PITHER||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||12||9.462||1:58.697||13|
|6||38||Jordan COX||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||12||10.192||1:58.576||8|
|7||34||James MOFFAT||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||12||22.862||2:00.006||1|
|8||62||Alex RULLO||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra TCR||12||24.469||1:59.215||10|
|9||100||Russell INGALL||Melbourne Performance||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||28.042||1:59.752||12|
|10||35||Alexandra WHITLEY||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||12||28.903||2:00.498||19|
|11||3||Leanne TANDER||Melbourne Performance||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||12||29.246||1:59.315||14|
|12||16||Aaron CAMERON||Melbourne Performance||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||12||29.384||1:58.324||5|
|13||50||Tony D’ALBERTO||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||12||31.081||1:58.886||2|
|14||7||Jimmy VERNON||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||12||31.818||1:59.150||11|
|15||6||Molly TAYLOR||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||12||1:20.412||2:06.376||18|
|R||8||Jason BRIGHT||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||DNF||1:59.204||9|
|R||9||Dylan O’KEEFFE||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||9||DNF||1:58.245||3|
|R||777||Andre HEIMGARTNER||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||8||DNF||2:00.233||15|
|R||37||Chelsea ANGELO||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra TCR||5||DNF||2:13.745||17|