HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan claimed his maiden victory in the TCR Australia series in race one at Sydney Motorsport Park, after pole-sitter Dylan O’Keeffe was forced to start from the pitlane.
O’Keeffe had qualified his GRM Renault Mégane on pole earlier in the day, but an electrical gremlin ahead of the start meant that his team had to briefly work on his car on the grid.
The penalty for such work meant O’Keeffe was forced to start from the pits, only released when the last car had gone through.
That effectively promoted Buchan to pole, but at the start of the race it was Wall Racing’s John Martin who leapt into the lead, passing both James Moffat and Buchan through the first turn.
Martin then led the initial two laps, but was under pressure throughout from Buchan, and heading onto lap three Martin slid in the final turn, costing him momentum and allowing Buchan to line up a pass around the outside into Turn 1.
Buchan made the move stick, whilst Moffat also seized the opportunity in his Renault to claim second at the next corner.
Thereafter Martin was unable to fight back, and Buchan was untroubled by Moffat to claim his first win in the series, whilst Moffat secured his best result and first podium of the season, whilst also claiming the best finish for a Renault in the series.
Martin had run in third for much of the race, but on the penultimate lap he lost pace, allowing championship leader Chaz Mostert, who had qualified in fifth, to claim the final podium position and extend his advantage at the top of the table.
Tony D’Alberto made up two places at the start and ran in fifth for most of the race, but like several other drivers he passed his Wall Racing team-mate and claimed fourth at the chequered flag.
Nathan Morcom brought his Hyundai home in fifth, ahead of the leading Alfa Romeo of Michael Caruso in sixth, who headed up a trio of the Italian cars.
Jordan Cox impressed in the race to claim seventh from 16th on the grid, ahead of Lee Holdsworth in eighth.
The top ten was completed by the GRM-run Peugeot of Aaron Cameron and the GRM Renault of the recovering O’Keeffe in tenth.
Martin, meanwhile, fell to a lowly 12th by the chequered flag.
All 22 drivers were classified as finishers, with the biggest drama befalling Ben Bargwanna when he spun out on lap eight after picking up a front-right puncture on his Peugeot.
The result sees Mostert’s championship advantage extended to 76 points (378 total) over Cameron, with King in third, 100 points adrift.
Race two and three take place on Sunday at 10:10 and 13:25 local time (01:10 BST and 04:25 BST respectively).