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Bailey Sweeny doubles up in race three and extends championship lead

HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny extended his TCR Australia championship lead with a second victory of the day in race three at Sandown Raceway, having fought past Aaron Cameron for the win.

Sweeny had started the race from pole position, having scored the highest number of points in the first two races of the weekend, but it was Cameron, from third on the grid, who shot into the lead at the start thanks to yet another lightning-fast getaway.

Whilst Cameron was able to lead for the first third of the race, he never had that much of a margin over the pursuing Hyundai, which was never much more than a few tenths of a second behind.

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Sweeny made his move for the lead going into the first corner on lap eight, diving through with a clean pass. The 20-year-old was then able to extend an advantage of over three seconds by the finish, to score his fifth win of the season and move clear in the championship lead.

Cameron was second again – his fifth consecutive time crossing the finish line as runner-up (although he was classified fourth in race one due to a post-race penalty) – to move him up to second overall in the drivers’ standings.

The podium was completed by Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto – but only after the reigning champion had gained two places on the last lap in a bold move.

In fact, D’Alberto had been seventh with just three laps to go, but that all changed when Lachlan Mineeff made an ill-fated attempt to pass Zac Soutar for third.

Mineeff dove down the inside of the newer-spec Audi at the final corner chicane, but the two made contact, with Soutar going through the gravel before stopping as a result of a front-left puncture from the incident.

Mineeff fared no better, managing just a lap in the final podium place before he too retired with a front-right puncture.

Then, on the final lap, Michael Clemente, gunning for the final podium place from Jordan Cox, tagged the back of the Peugeot at Turn 4, slowing both drivers and allowing D’Alberto to breeze by along the back straight and sneak the final rostrum ranking.

Clemente was thus fourth in his CUPRA, with Cox – who had been a bit of a rolling roadblock throughout the race – in fifth, having himself been warned about unsportsmanlike driving for blocking.

Ben Bargwanna was sixth in his Peugeot, ahead of the HMO Hyundai Elantra of Josh Buchan – who had led the drivers’ standings prior to the weekend – in seventh.

Ashley Seward Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant brought his Lynk & Co home in eighth, with the top ten completed by the Peugeots of Kody Garland and Clay Richards, although the latter was five laps down following a visit to the pitlane.

Melbourne Performance Centre’s Will Brown failed to take the start following the oil leak he suffered in race two, when the oil cap came off and emptied its contents all over the car. Iain McDougall, run out of the same stable in an older Audi, was a retirement after just three laps with a gearbox issue.

The next TCR Australia event takes place on 4 – 5 November in conjunction with the TCR World Tour.

Race result

1 130 Bailey SWEENY HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR 21 21 LAPS 1:14.958 1
2 18 Aaron CAMERON Team Valvoline GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 21 3.3268 1:15.291 3
3 1 Tony D’ALBERTO Honda Wall Racing Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 21 19.6890 1:15.515 5
4 15 Michael CLEMENTE Michael Clemente Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 21 20.1176 1:15.501 12
5 33 Jordan COX Schaeffler GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 21 20.5084 1:15.576 8
6 71 Ben BARGWANNA Burson Auto Parts Racing Peugeot 308 TCR 21 20.8144 1:15.481 7
7 30 Josh BUCHAN HMO Customer Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR 21 21.0290 1:15.516 6
8 115 Tom OLIPHANT Ashley Seward Motorsport Lynk & Co 03 TCR 21 25.8390 1:15.749 9
9 41 Kody GARLAND Valvoline Racing GRM Peugeot 308 TCR 21 52.7970 1:16.076 10
10 4 Clay RICHARDS Hangcha Forklifts Peugeot 308 TCR 16 + 5 LAPS 1:16.663 13
R 14 Lachlan MINEEFF Forza Brakes Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 19 DNF 1:15.310 2
R 110 Zac SOUTAR Team Soutar Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 18 DNF 1:15.371 4
R 22 Iain MCDOUGALL Melbourne Performance Centre Audi RS3 LMS TCR 3 DNF 1:16.669 11
NS 9 Will BROWN MPC Team Liqui Moly Audi RS3 LMS TCR II DNS N/A
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