Chaz Mostert dominated the opening TCR Australia race of the weekend at Phillip Island, mastering the wet conditions to win ahead of Melbourne Performance Centre team-mate Luke King by a huge 32 seconds.
Mostert, who started the race from pole position, pulled away from the chasing pack throughout the race, which was held in very wet conditions, by around two seconds per lap as he mastered the conditions.
Ashley Seward Motorsport’s Lee Holdsworth assumed second position early in the race after King made a poor getaway, but the Alfa Romeo driver was clearly struggling at times in the conditions, evidenced by several slides as he fought to hold second.
On lap six King made his move for second on the former Supercars racer, diving up the inside at Turn 10 to make it an Audi 1-2, although he would continue to fall away from Mostert for the remainder of the race.
Holdsworth held on to claim the final podium position, although falling a further eight seconds behind King in the process.
Wall Racing’s John Martin was the best of the Honda drivers in fourth, having made up a couple of places from his grid position to assume the place by the end of the first lap and holding station thereafter.
Martin’s team-mate Tony D’Alberto put in a much improved performance over his season opener six weeks ago to claim fifth, having fought with the Hyundai of Josh Buchan early in the race before the HMO driver went off on lap five and dropped down the order.
Aaron Cameron brought his Peugeot home in sixth, ahead of Buchan as the leading Hyundai in seventh, despite a second off for the rookie.
Jason Bargwanna and son Ben Bargwanna fought together in the closing stages of the race and claimed eighth and ninth, the Peugeot duo benefitting when Jordan Cox went off on the penultimate lap and lost places.
Cox’s off promoted series débutant Lachlan Mineeff to tenth, the Volkswagen driver finishing ahead of Zac Soutar’s Honda in 11th.
James Moffat was 12th in his 2019-spec Renault, which he is racing whilst his current-spec car is repaired after the shunt at Symmons Plains,whilst Cox claimed 13th after recovering from his late off.
The result means Cox loses his championship lead to Holdsworth, who now leads the standings on 156 points ahead of Mostert on 152 and Cox himself on 141.
Race two is scheduled to get underway at 11:10 local time (00:10 GMT) on Sunday, followed by race three at 14:25 local time (03:25 GMT).