Néstor Girolami secures comfortable win on TCR Australia début

Néstor Girolami secures comfortable win on TCR Australia début

Néstor Girolami
Photo: TCR Australia

Néstor Girolami took a comfortable win in his first race in TCR Australia at Sandown, with the Wall Racing driver taking victory by over two seconds from champion-elect Will Brown.

WTCR regular Girolami was never troubled for the win, taking a lights-to-flag victory as the rest of the field squabbled behind the Argentine.

On a damp and drying track, HMO Customer Racing’s Will Brown moved from fourth on the grid up to second at the start, but the second Honda of John Martin would take the position on the following lap at the end of the back straight.

The rest of the race then largely came down to a long battle for second, with Martin holding the position for most of the race, until lap 16 when he couldn’t hang on to his car at Turn 1 as he struggled with running wet tyres on a near-dry track.

That allowed Brown into second, with GRM’s Jordan Cox also getting through to third as Martin lost momentum.

Brown and Cox would hold on to the final podium positions for the next three laps, moving Brown closer to the title. Cox secured his first podium in the series after a series of impressive performances in previous events.

Melbourne Performance’s Garth Tander was fourth on his return to the series after two events away, with the Audi driver also passing Martin on lap 16, although Martin immediately fought back only for Tander to seal the pass at Turn 1 on the following lap.

Martin then came under pressure from the second Melbourne Performance Audi of Liam McAdam for the rest of the race, but the Honda driver was able to hold him off to take fifth ahead of McAdam in sixth.

James Moffat brought his GRM Renault home in seventh, ahead of the second Alfa Romeo of Dylan O’Keeffe in eighth. The title contender had struggled to make progress in the race and the title is increasingly out of reach, as he slips to 132 points behind Brown.

Melbourne Performance’s Aaron Cameron and HMO’s Nathan Morcom completed the top ten in their Volkswagen and Hyundai cars respectively.

Kelly Racing’s Andre Heimgartner retired from the race after four laps whilst running in ninth when he suffered from broken suspension on his Holden Astra, whilst Jason Bright retired on lap 15 when he too picked up damaged suspension.

Races two and three get underway on Sunday at 12:15 and 13:20 local time (03:15 and 04:20 BST, 04:15 and 05:20 CEST).

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 38 Néstor GIROLAMI Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR 20 26:00.7271 1:16.129 1
2 30 Will BROWN HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR 20 2.222 1:15.930 4
3 38 Jordan COX Garry Rogers Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 20 10.190 1:16.889 6
4 4 Garth TANDER Melbourne Performance Audi RS3 LMS TCR 20 11.814 1:16.695 11
5 24 John MARTIN Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR 20 14.956 1:17.160 3
6 97 Liam MCADAM Melbourne Performance Audi RS3 LMS TCR 20 15.238 1:15.726 12
7 34 James MOFFAT Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR 20 15.555 1:16.436 10
8 9 Dylan O’KEEFFE Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 20 19.680 1:16.227 9
9 16 Aaron CAMERON Melbourne Performance Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 20.578 1:16.045 14
10 11 Nathan MORCOM HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR 20 36.019 1:16.810 15
11 33 Chris PITHER Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR 20 37.464 1:17.111 17
12 100 Russell INGALL Melbourne Performance Audi RS3 LMS TCR 20 59.974 1:16.415 13
13 37 Bryce FULLWOOD Kelly Racing Holden Astra TCR 20 1:08.807 1:17.232 8
14 35 Alexandra WHITLEY Melbourne Performance Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 1:12.652 1:18.905 16
15 50 Tony D’ALBERTO Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR 20 1:15.023 1:19.649 7
R 8 Jason BRIGHT Taskforce / Alliance Autosport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 DNF 1:17.963 5
R 777 Andre HEIMGARTNER Kelly Racing Holden Astra TCR 4 DNF 1:21.027 2