Aaron Cameron claimed his first TCR Australia win of the season in a relatively sedate opening race at Mount Panorama, as the GRM driver headed up a Peugeot 1-2-3 in front of Ben Bargwanna and Dylan O’Keeffe.
Earlier in the day, Cameron had bagged his first-ever pole position in the series when he edged out Jordan Cox to claim the top spot with a lap of 2 minutes 12.768 seconds.
Cox was later hit with a penalty after qualifying for having blocked a rival’s qualifying lap, dropping him three places on the starting grid behind Bargwanna, O’Keeffe and Tim Slade.
At the start, Cameron came under pressure from Bargwanna around the outside of Turn 1, but as the duo ran side-by-side up the hill exiting the corner, Cameron was able to pull ahead and hold on to his lead.
The 22-year-old then came under little pressure thereafter, as the Bathurst expert – who has never finished lower than second in the seven TCR races he has contested at the mountain – romped clear to his third overall win in the category.
Bargwanna settled into second – his third visit to the rostrum on the bounce – as O’Keeffe completed the podium in the best-ever result for Peugeot in TCR Australia to-date.
Cox had initially made a place past Slade on the opening lap to make it a Peugeot top four, but on the fourth lap the title contender was forced to retire after his car overheated, denting his weekend hopes.
Melbourne Performance Centre’s Will Brown made a place past Tony D’Alberto on the opening lap, followed by Tim Slade on the next tour, and the Audi driver went on to finish in fourth after he passed James Moffat’s Renault two laps later.
Moffat took fifth – his second top ten result of the year – in his GRM Mégane, ahead of Slade in sixth.
D’Alberto brought the second Wall Racing Honda home in seventh, ahead of the leading HMO Customer Racing Hyundai of Josh Buchan in eighth.
The top ten was completed by Buchan’s team-mate Bailey Sweeny in ninth and the Ashley Seward motorsport Alfa Romeo of Michael Caruso in tenth, giving the latter the pole position for the partially reverse-grid race two.
After wrecking his new-spec Audi in practice, Jay Hanson was only 14th in the team’s spare old specification RS3.
Late in the race a close battle developed for the lower positions, with Michael Clemente initially being passed for 15th by series returnee Luke King, before retaking the position at The Chase, as behind them rookie Kody Garland stole 17th from Lachlan Mineeff.
Race two is scheduled to get underway at 17:10 local time (08:10 BST, 09:10 CEST).
|1||18||Aaron CAMERON||Team Valvoline GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||10||22:29.4850||2:14.097||1|
|2||71||Ben BARGWANNA||Burson Auto Parts Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||10||2.8633||2:14.514||2|
|3||8||Dylan O’KEEFFE||Schaeffler GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||10||7.8467||2:14.685||3|
|4||999||Will BROWN||MPC Team Liqui Moly||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||13.2566||2:14.443||8|
|5||34||James MOFFAT||LCMT+ Racing GRM||Renault Mégane RS TCR||10||14.0779||2:15.298||6|
|6||24||Tim SLADE||Stan Sport Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||14.8106||2:15.262||4|
|7||50||Tony D’ALBERTO||Honda Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||15.7566||2:15.310||7|
|8||30||Josh BUCHAN||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||16.1149||2:15.333||11|
|9||130||Bailey SWEENY||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||16.8021||2:15.278||9|
|10||10||Michael CARUSO||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||10||19.0829||2:15.394||10|
|11||333||Brad SHIELS||Royal Purple Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||20.9659||2:15.814||12|
|12||11||Nathan MORCOM||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||22.9636||2:15.766||13|
|13||110||Zac SOUTAR||Team Soutar Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||24.0903||2:15.694||14|
|14||9||Jay HANSON||AWC MPC Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||24.6580||2:15.897||15|
|15||15||Michael CLEMENTE||Michael Clemente Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||26.7385||2:15.442||16|
|16||2||Luke KING||MOUTAI / Zip Pay||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||28.3921||2:15.871||19|
|17||41||Kody GARLAND||Valvoline Racing GRM||Renault Mégane RS TCR||10||29.1019||2:16.036||17|
|18||14||Lachlan MINEEFF||Purple Sector||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||10||29.4269||2:16.210||18|
|19||89||Braydan WILLMINGTON||Braydan Willmington Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||10||43.3341||2:16.974||21|
|20||22||Iain MCDOUGALL||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||47.0492||2:17.426||20|
|R||33||Jordan COX||Swyftx GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||4||DNF||2:14.686||5|