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Michael Clemente claims maiden TCR Australia win with last-lap pass

Michael Clemente claimed a sensational maiden victory in TCR Australia with a last-lap pass on race-long leader Jordan Cox in the second encounter at Phillip Island.

Cox started on the front row of the partially reversed-grid race alongside pole-sitter Brad Harris, and the GRM Peugeot driver moved into the lead at the start with a clean getaway from the lights.

Harris held second for the opening tour, but Clemente had moved his new CUPRA up to third on the first lap, and going onto the second tour he dived down the inside at the hairpin to relieve Harris of second.

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Whilst Cox had opened up a few seconds lead in the early stages, the Peugeot seemed to fade in the closing laps, allowing Clemente to close in.

Going on to the final lap, Cox left the door slightly open at Turn 2, with Clemente immediately muscling in and past the erstwhile leader, albeit with some door-rubbing contact.

The 22-year-old then went on to hold that advantage for the final half a lap, claiming his first-ever win in the series by half a second from Cox.

GRM’s Ben Bargwanna completed the podium, having moved up to fourth on the first lap and then following Clemente past Harris on the second lap.

HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny took the chequered flag in fifth, bringing his Hyundai i30 home as the best-placed car for the manufacturer.

Aaron Cameron finished in sixth in his Peugeot, having battled hard with team-mate Kody Garland and Sweeny at the mid-stage of the race, with the latter dropping back late on.

Zac Soutar was the leading Audi driver in seventh, moving ahead of the Lynk & Co of Tom Oliphant on lap five, with Oliphant at least having a trouble-free run to eighth, unlike in race one where technical issues hampered his race in the new car.

The top ten was completed by Garland, who dropped two places to Soutar and Oliphant in the final two laps, and race one winner Josh Buchan, who found himself unable to make progress in his HMO Hyundai Elantra.

Will Brown recorded his first finish of the season in 11th, but was unable to make inroads into the field ahead.

Lachlan Mineeff was up a place to seventh in the opening laps, but the independent Audi racer went through the gravel on lap three and dropped to the rear of the field, eventually finishing in 12th.

Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto finished in 13th and last. The Honda driver had started in tenth and moved up to sixth at the start, but then went wide and dropped down the order, struggling for pace as the race progressed.

Race three is scheduled to get underway at 16:15 local time (07:15 BST, 08:15 CEST).

Race results

1 15 Michael CLEMENTE Michael Clemente Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 12 20:02.5207 1:39.084 4
2 33 Jordan COX Schaeffler GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 12 0.537 1:39.234 2
3 71 Ben BARGWANNA Burson Auto Parts Racing Peugeot 308 TCR 12 2.387 1:39.301 5
4 74 Brad HARRIS Exclusive Switchboards Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 12 4.461 1:38.842 1
5 130 Bailey SWEENY HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 4.872 1:39.227 6
6 18 Aaron CAMERON Team Valvoline GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 12 6.119 1:39.295 7
7 110 Zac SOUTAR Team Soutar Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 12 8.162 1:39.358 12
8 115 Tom OLIPHANT Ashley Seward Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 9.460 1:39.380 11
9 41 Kody GARLAND Valvoline Racing GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 12 9.991 1:39.535 3
10 30 Josh BUCHAN HMO Customer Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR 12 10.213 1:39.318 9
11 9 Will BROWN MPC Team Liqui Moly Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 12 13.012 1:39.871 13
12 14 Lachlan MINEEFF Forza Brakes Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 13.185 1:39.396 8
13 1 Tony D’ALBERTO Honda Wall Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 12 16.430 1:40.164 10
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