HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny made it two victories from three TCR Australia races at Symmons Plains by taking victory in the final race of the weekend ahead of Honda’s Tony D’Alberto.
Pole-sitter Sweeny lost out to reigning champion D’Alberto at the start, with the Wall Racing driver then leading for the first 19 laps.
Jordan Cox also got ahead of Sweeny’s Hyundai at the start to hold third for the opening four laps, but Sweeny passed the GRM Peugeot driver at the penultimate corner with a robust move to reclaim the position.
Aaron Cameron also tried to follow his team-mate through at the same time, but couldn’t quite make the move stick, with the scrapping allowing D’Alberto to open up a two-second lead.
Sweeny had closed in D’Alberto’s advantage to around a second at just over the halfway stage, before an intermittent gear change issue slowed D’Alberto and allowed Sweeny into a lead he held for the final 11 laps, with Sweeny ultimately winning by just over three seconds.
D’Alberto did hold on to claim second, whilst the final podium place went to Cox in third, who had to contend with some pressure from team-mate Cameron towards the end of the race.
Ashley Seward Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant was fifth, the Brit being in the midst of a battling pack for much of the race. Despite that, he held the position for the entire duration of the race.
GRM’s Kody Garland was sixth, the Peugeot driver passing Lachlan Mineeff for the position on the 11th lap, which in turn eased the pressure on Oliphant.
Mineeff brought his Audi home in seventh, ahead of the GRM Peugeot of Ben Bargwanna in eighth, who jumped Josh Buchan and Michael Clemente at the start and then stayed there for the rest of the race.
Buchan and Clemente completed the top ten in their HMO Hyundai Elantra and self-run Audi respectively, with Melbourne Performance Centre’s Iain McDougall the only other classified finisher in 11th.
For Buchan, it will have been a disappointing weekend in only his second event in the newer Elantra, having had to contend with a split turbo pipe in the second race.
After the opening event of the season, Sweeny leads the drivers’ standings with 137 points ahead of D’Alberto on 123 points and Cameron on 119 points.
The next TCR Australia event takes place at Phillip Island on 12 – 14 May.