HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan took a lights-to-flag win in the opening TCR Australia race at Sydney Motorsport Park, easing to victory having not been challenged hard for the win.
At the start, as pole-sitter Buchan sprinted away, Melbourne Performance Centre’s Will Brown made a poor start from the front row of the grid, allowing the chasing Peugeots behind to muscle through.
Aaron Cameron was into second before the first corner, whilst his team-mate Jordan Cox also followed through at Turn 2.
Brown fought back with Cox to regain the place briefly at Turn 4, before Cox then muscled back past, pushing the Audi driver wide onto the grass in the process.
However, the 2019 champion then claimed third back from Cox on the next lap before setting about closing down Cameron for second.
The hard-charging Brown claimed second from Cameron at the first corner on lap four, but he would only hold second for two laps before his front-right shock absorber failed, dropping him out of the race.
Brown’s retirement promoted Cameron and Cox back into second and third respectively, but by this stage Buchan in the lead was over a second and a half in front and in control of the race.
Buchan held on to claim his first win of the season, ahead of Cameron and Cox.
Dylan O’Keeffe brought his GRM Peugeot home behind his team-mates in fourth, having gained the place from Zac Soutar on the second lap of the race.
Soutar was fifth, finishing where he started having gained a place with Brown’s demise after losing out to O’Keeffe.
Nathan Morcom, who had started from seventh due to a grid penalty for an engine change despite having posted the second fastest qualifying lap, gained just one place in the race to finish sixth.
Luke King brought his Hyundai home in seventh, ahead of the Wall Racing Honda of championship leader Tony D’Alberto in eighth.
A close battle developed for the final top ten places in the mid-part of the race, with the grid for Sunday’s race two being formed by a reversal of the top ten race finishing places in race one.
Fabian Coulthard had held ninth up until lap ten, with Kody Garland close behind and both set for a front-row starting berth for race two.
However, going in to Turn 2 on the tenth lap Garland missed his braking point, possibly under pressure from Brad Shiels behind, crashing into the back of Coulthard and taking both drivers off track.
That promoted Shiels to ninth, in turn giving the race two reverse-grid pole and tenth place in this race to Jay Hanson, who had started from 14th having crashed his Audi in qualifying.
Michael Caruso had looked set to benefit from the incident ahead, and was indeed briefly in ninth, but further around the lap his Alfa Romeo picked up a front-right puncture and he had to limp back to the pits.
Bailey Sweeny just missed out on the top ten and brought his Hyundai home in 11th.
Coulthard and Garland were able to continue after re-joining the circuit, but down in 17th and 18th places respectively.
Race two is scheduled to get underway at 11:20 local time (03:20 CEST, 02:20 BST) on Sunday.
|1||30||Josh BUCHAN||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||20:58.3043||1:35.784||1|
|2||18||Aaron CAMERON||Team Valvoline GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||13||0.957||1:35.736||3|
|3||33||Jordan COX||Swyftx GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||13||1.209||1:35.371||4|
|4||8||Dylan O’KEEFFE||Schaeffler GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||13||2.572||1:35.534||6|
|5||110||Zac SOUTAR||Team Soutar Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||13||7.177||1:36.024||5|
|6||11||Nathan MORCOM||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||7.472||1:35.355||7|
|7||2||Luke KING||MOUTAI / Zip Pay||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||7.986||1:35.996||10|
|8||50||Tony D’ALBERTO||Honda Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||13||14.231||1:36.208||8|
|9||333||Brad SHIELS||Royal Purple Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||14.432||1:36.530||13|
|10||9||Jay HANSON||AWC MPC Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||15.973||1:35.944||14|
|11||130||Bailey SWEENY||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||16.993||1:36.133||18|
|12||15||Michael CLEMENTE||Michael Clemente Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||13||17.352||1:36.204||17|
|13||14||Lachlan MINEEFF||Purple Sector||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||13||17.776||1:36.141||19|
|14||34||James MOFFAT||LCMT+ Racing GRM||Renault Mégane RS TCR||13||18.045||1:35.930||12|
|15||89||Braydan WILLMINGTON||Braydan Willmington Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||13||20.460||1:36.354||21|
|16||22||Iain MCDOUGALL||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||21.028||1:36.591||20|
|17||24||Fabian COULTHARD||Stan Sport Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||13||38.389||1:36.455||11|
|18||41||Kody GARLAND||Valvoline Racing GRM||Renault Mégane RS TCR||13||1:07.691||1:36.432||15|
|19||71||Ben BARGWANNA||Burson Auto Parts Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||12||+ 1 LAP||1:36.967||16|
|20||10||Michael CARUSO||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||12||+ 1 LAP||1:36.292||9|
|R||999||Will BROWN||MPC Team Liqui Moly||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||6||DNF||1:35.193||2|