Ben Bargwanna claimed his maiden victory in TCR Australia after an eventful wet second race at Sandown, which featured early leader James Moffat being taken out before Jordan Cox aquaplaned out of the lead on the last lap.
Bargwanna had started from pole position, but the Peugeot driver bogged down at the start to allow fellow front-row starter Moffat to assume the lead in his Renault.
Moffat came under early pressure from the Peugeot of Cox, who had also got by Bargwanna as the lights went out, but the race had to be neutralised after Bailey Sweeney biffed Michael Caruso’s Alfa Romeo at Turn 2, resulting in the Hyundai going straight on and getting bogged down in the mud to need recovery.
Racing resumed on lap five with Moffat leading Cox, but the GRM Renault driver was clearly struggling for pace and on lap nine Cox found a way through at Turn 9, with Bargwanna swiftly following through at the same turn.
Moffat’s race then unravelled for good a few corners later, as the MPC Audi of Jay Hanson hit the Renault at Turn 4, half-spinning him before Aaron Cameron made contact with the left-rear wheel of the Renault and broke his suspension.
That incident required several more laps under the safety car, resulting in a one-lap sprint to the finish at the end as conditions deteriorated on the last lap.
Under green flags, Cox looked to have done enough before he aquaplaned off at the final corner, along with Bargwanna, both drivers – along with fifth-placed Zac Soutar – going straight over the gravel at the final corner.
Bargwanna emerged in the lead and crossed the line to win, his corner cutting deemed not to have gained him an advantage as he had aquaplaned off in an uncontrolled manner.
Cox held on for second, whilst Will Brown brought his Audi home to completed the podium in third.
Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto was fourth – the championship leader having narrowly avoided the wall when steering clear of the Hanson – Moffat incident – ahead of Soutar in fifth.
Michael Clemente came through from 15th on the grid to take sixth after a strong opening lap gained him four places alone, ahead of Dylan O’Keeffe in seventh.
Luke King would have been eighth, but for the contact with Josh Buchan on the final lap, dropping him to 12th.
The top ten was completed by HMO Customer Racing’s Buchan in eighth, Melbourne Performance Centre’s Iain McDougall in ninth and Ashley Seward Motorsport’s recovering Caruso in tenth, who had actually crossed the line in sixth but was given a post-race five-second penalty for a breach of the safety car procedure.
|1||71||Ben BARGWANNA||Burson Auto Parts Racing||Peugeot 308 TCR||14||26:22.0987||1:22.366||1|
|2||33||Jordan COX||Swyftx GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||14||1.057||1:22.247||4|
|3||999||Will BROWN||MPC Team Liqui Moly||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||1.387||1:22.211||9|
|4||50||Tony D’ALBERTO||Honda Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||14||1.801||1:22.417||7|
|5||110||Zac SOUTAR||Team Soutar Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||14||3.608||1:22.670||8|
|6||15||Michael CLEMENTE||Michael Clemente Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||14||4.761||1:22.916||15|
|7||8||Dylan O’KEEFFE||Schaeffler GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||14||5.720||1:22.563||17|
|8||30||Josh BUCHAN||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||14||7.227||1:22.768||6|
|9||22||Iain MCDOUGALL||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||9.020||1:22.884||14|
|10||10||Michael CARUSO||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||14||9.749||1:22.096||5|
|11||11||Nathan MORCOM||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||14||10.686||1:23.193||12|
|12||2||Luke KING||MOUTAI / Zip Pay||Hyundai i30 N TCR||14||11.696||1:22.719||18|
|13||14||Lachlan MINEEFF||Purple Sector||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||14||16.528||1:22.083||11|
|14||41||Kody GARLAND||Valvoline Racing GRM||Renault Mégane RS TCR||13||+ 1 LAP||1:25.531||13|
|15||9||Jay HANSON||AWC MPC Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||13||+ 1 LAP||1:21.928||16|
|16||130||Bailey SWEENY||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30 N TCR||12||+ 2 LAPS||1:22.676||3|
|R||18||Aaron CAMERON||Team Valvoline GRM||Peugeot 308 TCR||11||DNF||1:22.187||10|
|R||34||James MOFFAT||LCMT+ Racing GRM||Renault Mégane RS TCR||9||DNF||1:22.314||2|