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Bailey Sweeny dominates final race at Winton

Bailey Sweeny dominated the final TCR Australia race at Winton, heading home HMO Customer Racing team-mate Josh Buchan by over 20 seconds to extend his series lead.

By virtue of having already scored the most points in the weekend’s first two races, Sweeny found himself lining up his Hyundai i30 N on pole position for race three, with Buchan alongside in the Hyundai Elantra N.

At the start, the front-row Hyundais held firm, as Tony D’Alberto made a strong start from fourth on the grid to put in an early challenge, before the reigning champion was held out wide at the next corner and dropped to seventh as a result.

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With the first corners under his belt, Sweeny then got his head down and built an advantage of over a second a lap to extend a comfortable gap to Buchan.

In the end, the 20-year-old scored his fifth win in the series by the second-biggest winning margin in TCR Australia history.

Buchan remains Sweeny’s closest threat in the drivers’ championship standings, his third podium of the season meaning he is 36 points behind with 351 points to his name.

But Buchan nearly didn’t make it to the end. On the final lap, Michael Clemente numped into him in the closing stages, only to slow and give the position back.

But with Buchan seemingly ailed, he was slow and Zac Soutar in turn was bunched up right behind.

As Clemente then sought to re-pass, he got baulked, lost control of his CUPRA, and crashed into the barriers and out of the race.

Buchan clung on to second, with Soutar thus completing the podium in third – his second podium finish of the weekend.

GRM’s Jordan Cox gained ground at the start of the race before running in a distant fifth thereafter, which became fourth when Clemente crashed out.

Lachlan Mineeff brought his first-generation Audi home in fifth, ahead of D’Alberto’s Honda in sixth.

Kody Garland gained ground from the back of the grid to take seventh, ahead of race two winner Tom Oliphant in eighth in his Alfa Romeo.

The top ten was completed by the Peugeots of Ben Bargwanna and Aaron Cameron.

Clay Richards was the only other retirement of the race, the Audi racer suffering from what appeared to be a front-right suspension failure after 12 laps, causing him to limp on with significant tyre smoke from the front of his car.

In the drivers’ championship, Sweeny leads with 387 points, ahead of Buchan (351), Cox (326), Cameron (307) and Mineeff (302).

The next round takes place at Queensland Raceway on 11 – 13 August.

Race result

1 130 Bailey SWEENY HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR 18 25:56.4233 1:25.619 1
2 30 Josh BUCHAN HMO Customer Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR 18 20.469 1:26.803 2
3 110 Zac SOUTAR Team Soutar Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 18 20.862 1:26.648 3
4 33 Jordan COX Schaeffler GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 18 25.135 1:26.721 10
5 14 Lachlan MINEEFF Forza Brakes Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 18 27.764 1:26.809 6
6 1 Tony D’ALBERTO Honda Wall Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 18 29.655 1:26.690 4
7 41 Kody GARLAND Valvoline Racing GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 18 36.469 1:27.160 14
8 115 Tom OLIPHANT Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 18 40.615 1:27.511 5
9 71 Ben BARGWANNA Burson Auto Parts Racing Peugeot 308 TCR 18 42.451 1:26.989 9
10 18 Aaron CAMERON Team Valvoline GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 18 42.918 1:27.082 11
11 22 Iain MCDOUGALL Melbourne Performance Centre Audi RS3 LMS TCR 18 43.892 1:27.246 12
12 74 Brad HARRIS Exclusive Switchboards Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 18 59.540 1:27.456 13
R 15 Michael CLEMENTE Michael Clemente Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 17 DNF 1:26.258 8
R 4 Clay RICHARDS Shannons Insurance / Penrite Oil Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 DNF 1:27.274 7
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