Jason Bright scored his second TCR Australia win of the season at Winton Motor Raceway in an eventful opening encounter, as title protagnosits Will Brown and Dylan O’Keeffe completed the podium.
The start of the race saw pole-sitter Will Brown lost out to the Holden of Andre Heimgartner, who took the lead at Turn 1, despite light contact between the duo.
Brown then lost out to the Honda of John Martin and the Volkswagen of the fast-starting Bright at the next sequence of turns, with Bright moving up from sixth on the grid after an impressive getaway.
Martin then passed Heimgartner for the lead further around the opening tour, with Bright also trying to seize the chance to sneak through into second, although the move didn’t stick and he then dropped to third behind Brown.
Brown moved back up to second on lap two, whilst Martin had managed to open up a slight lead at the front.
Lap four saw Bright finally muscle past Heimgartner, who also lost out to O’Keeffe.
Bright benefitted on lap five when Martin and Brown, who had been scrapping for the lead, made contact, sending the Hyundai off the circuit and allowing Bright into second.
Martin then dropped back on lap six with a left-front puncture, gifting Bright the lead as Brown settled into second and O’Keeffe into third.
The 46-year-old then sauntered to victory in the second half of the race, moving him up to eighth in the drivers’ standings in the process.
Brown and O’Keeffe kept up their title rivalry by completing the podium, ahead of the Honda of Tony D’Alberto in fourth.
The second Hyundai of Nathan Morcom was fifth, ahead of Aaron Cameron’s Volkswagen in sixth after the latter went off the road at the penultimate turn, having earlier been pressuring D’Alberto.
Heimgartner was seventh, the Holden driver having held a huge slide early on the race which cost him ground, ahead of Russell Ingall’s Audi in eighth.
Newcomers Tim Brook and Liam McAdam completed the top ten in their Honda and Audi cars respectively, the latter benefitting when Hamish Ribarits, competing in a Holden Astra for his second weekend in TCR Australia, stopped with one lap to go.
Jordan Cox retired his Alfa Romeo after six laps following a high-speed off-track excursion after contact with the ailing Martin.
James Moffat failed to make the start after his Renault stopped on the formation lap, whilst team-mate Chris Pither also had to pull into the pits at the end of the formation lap with issues on his Mégane.
Races two and three get underway at 13:15 and 14:20 AEST (04:15 and 05:20) on Sunday.
|1||8||Jason BRIGHT||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||16||23:06.9034||1:25.355||6|
|2||30||Will BROWN||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||16||0.939||1:25.214||1|
|3||9||Dylan O’KEEFFE||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||16||8.156||1:26.039||4|
|4||50||Tony D’ALBERTO||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||16||9.634||1:26.050||5|
|5||11||Nathan MORCOM||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||16||13.190||1:26.193||8|
|6||16||Aaron CAMERON||Melbourne Performance||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||16||13.249||1:26.089||7|
|7||777||Andre HEIMGARTNER||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra TCR||16||15.067||1:26.175||2|
|8||100||Russell INGALL||Melbourne Performance||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||16||15.447||1:25.850||10|
|9||38||Tim BROOK||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||16||20.094||1:26.150||12|
|10||97||Liam MCADAM||Melbourne Performance||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||16||32.287||1:26.629||13|
|11||6||Molly TAYLOR||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||16||43.929||1:27.609||19|
|12||35||Alexandra WHITLEY||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||16||53.258||1:26.601||18|
|13||3||Leanne TANDER||Melbourne Performance||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||16||1:11.012||1:26.761||15|
|14||24||John MARTIN||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R TCR||14||+ 2 LAPS||1:25.457||3|
|15||37||Bryce FULLWOOD||Kelly Racing||Subaru WRX STi||12||+ 4 LAPS||1:26.279||17|
|R||22||Hamish RIBARITS||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra TCR||15||DNF||1:26.152||16|
|R||38||Jordan COX||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||6||DNF||1:26.536||9|
|R||34||James MOFFAT||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||0||DNF||N/A||11|
|R||33||Chris PITHER||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Mégane RS TCR||0||DNF||N/A||14|