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Michael Clemente converts pole into race one win at Winton

Michael Clemente has scored his second TCR Australia win in as many meetings in the opening race at Winton, sealing a lights-to-flag win in his CUPRA Leon Competición TCR.

Clemente had earlier put his car on pole by half a tenth of a second from HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny, taking a first career pole in the category, and at the start of the race he pulled clear of a slow-starting Sweeny to assume an advantage he would not lose.

As Sweeny bogged down away from the line, his team-mate Josh Buchan in the Hyundai Elantra was able to pull alongside, moving into second at the first corner.

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Further back, GRM’s Aaron Cameron made an exceptionally slow start from sixth on the grid, before then making contact with team-mate Kody Garland, who he punted off the circuit to boot, at the first corner.

A lap later, Cameron would suffer from more contact, forcing him to make a pitstop for repairs to his Peugeot.

Sweeny got back by Buchan for second on the third lap, completing a pass at Turn 10 with Zac Soutar also following the i30 N driver through on Buchan for third.

That locked in the podium positions, with Clemente more than two seconds clear by this stage. Sweeny pulled in the gap towards the end of the race, but was unable to prevent Carl Cox Motorsport’s Clemente bagging a second career win by just over a second.

Soutar was a distant third, as Buchan took fourth – albeit under heavy pressure from the Peugeot of Jordan Cox in fifth, who had earlier gained three places on the opening lap.

Reigning champion Tony D’Alberto brought his Honda home in sixth, despite having been on the receiving end of a knock from Cox on the first lap.

Ben Bargwanna came home in seventh in his Peugeot, ahead of Lachlan Mineeff’s first-generation Audi in eighth.

The top ten was completed by series newcomer Clay Richards in an Audi and Ashley Sward Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant, who has had to revert back to an Alfa Romeo this weekend after the team has struggled with supply of spare parts for its Lynk & Co 03 TCR.

Nonetheless, it means Oliphant will start from pole position for Sunday’s reverse-grid second race at 12:30 local time (03:30 BST, 04:30 CEST).

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