Jordan Cox celebrated Australia Day in style by taking his first ever victory in a TCR car at Symmons Plains Raceway.
However, it was fellow Alfa Romeo driver Lee Holdsworth who was on pole position for this second race of the 2021 TCR Australia Series. The former V8 Supercars star wouldn’t lead the pack for long though, as Cox managed to out-drag him as the start lights went out.
The best getaway of all, however, came from a row further back on the grid. Aaron Cameron got a brilliant launch in his Peugeot 308 TCR, and promptly scythed ahead of Holdsworth and Josh Buchan as if they were standing still, elevating him up into second place.
Not content with that, Cameron quickly turned his attention onto Cox and found himself in the slipstream of his GRM team-mate along the back straight. This set him up nicely for a passing move to take the lead of the race through turns six and seven.
Further back in the midfield, two of the other GRM cars driven by Michael Caruso and Dylan O’Keeffe came to blows on the start-finish straight. After his first race was hampered by electrical issues, things had gone from bad to worse for Caruso, who clumsily moved across the front of O’Keeffe’s Renault.
The result was a nasty impact into the wall for the Valvoline-sponsored Alfa Romeo, while O’Keeffe managed to continue after a quick spin. However, with Caruso’s car stranded in a gravel trap, the safety car was deployed to end what had been a frantic opening lap.
Cameron was eager to escape the clutches of Cox and Holdsworth on the restart, and when the safety car was withdrawn, he did just that. In fact, the Peugeot driver managed to pull out a few car lengths straight away on the chasing pack, so all eyes were now on the Hyundai of Buchan in fourth.
After being jumped by Cameron at the start, Buchan seemed keen to get back into the podium places, but an optimistic attempt to overtake Holdsworth on the outside line of the penultimate corner left him vulnerable to the advances of Chaz Mostert in fifth.
The following lap, Buchan pushed a little too hard on entry to the same corner, resulting in a well-corrected slide. The quick recovery wasn’t enough to keep Mostert behind though, while Luke King and Jay Hanson also managed to get the better of him one corner later.
James Moffat in the fifth GRM-prepared car was next in line to pass the Hyundai driver, but as Buchan defended on entry to the hairpin, Moffat ran slightly wide onto the dirt which left him unable to brake in time for the corner.
Unfortunately, this led to contact with the back of Hanson’s car, forcing the pair of them into retirement and earning Moffat a three-place grid penalty for his troubles.
Meanwhile at the front of the pack, the gap between Cameron and Cox was beginning to close. Then, on lap fourteen, Cameron seemed to struggle with a brake issue as the cars headed into the hairpin. This was enough to send him slightly wide through the turn, which then opened the door for Cox to retake the lead.
Sadly, the Peugeot soon fell out of contention entirely after that due to a paddle shift failure.
With Cameron now out of the picture, Cox was able to run away at the front of the field, setting a new lap record almost every time he crossed the line.
Cox brought the car home for a deserved victory, relatively unchallenged by Holdsworth in second place while Mostert completed the podium in third.
King took an impressive fourth-place finish ahead of Nathan Morcom in fifth who emerged as the best of the Hyundai bunch.
Morcom’s team-mate Buchan wound up in sixth after an eventful race, while Brad Shiels quietly made his way up to seventh.
Supercars veteran Jason Bargwanna was next up in eighth place in his Peugeot, with his son Ben not far behind in tenth. Splitting the pair of them was Tony D’Alberto who did well to drag his Honda into ninth.
O’Keeffe recovered from his spin to cross the line in eleventh place, while Zac Soutar, Michael Clemente and John Martin rounded out the finishers in their underperforming Civic Type-Rs.