Will Brown drove through a weekend of carnage to extend his lead in the carsales TCR Australia Series at Phillip Island with his Hyundai i30 N.
Forced to settle for second in the first two starts, behind the rampaging Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Dylan O’Keefe, Brown was able to pick up the pieces when his rival crashed out of the final 30-minute heat.
A win and two seconds trumped the rest of the TCR hopefuls, as Garth Tander was the guest star in an Audi RS3 that looked like a runaway patient from an emergency ward by the end of the weekend.
Brown finished ahead of his Hyundai team mate Nathan Morcom in the final heat, as Aaron Cameron took the final podium place in a Volkswagen Golf.
The two-car Honda team took the biggest hits during back-to-back heats on Sunday, first with a pair of punctures and then when the cars of John Martin and Tony D’Alberto were both involved in a first-corner tangle that sent Martin’s Civic Type R to the panelbeaters for major back-end repairs after he torpedoed O’Keefe’s stranded Alfa.
“I was just trying to mind my own business and I got punted. There is too much wild stuff going on,” Martin said.
Brown was happy to capitalise on a sensibly solid approach to the weekend, although he threw away a potential win in Heat 2 when he slid out of a battle with O’Keefe thanks to brake troubles.
“We tuned it up and had a crack for the last one. It was a lot of fun,” Brown said.
“I don’t know how it happened, but I was locking brakes all over the place in Race 2. Somehow the brake adjustment went way out.”
“But it’s been a good weekend.”
The competition and carnage mixed the results throughout the second meeting of the inaugural TCR championship, with action throughout the field including a spin for James Moffat after an early podium, heavy crash damage for both Garth and Leanne Tander in their twin Audis, and driveline troubles that effectively sidelined Jason Bright’s Volkswagen Golf.
Among the youngsters in the series, Hamish Ribarits showed solid improvement and scored his first podium with an Audi RS3, Alex Rullo also ran solidly in his Holden Astra, and Cameron used his head to benefit from the mistakes of others.
They have plenty of pressure from Andre Heimgartner, who out-performed his Subaru WRX for most of the weekend, and Chris Pither, who admitted he is still coming to grips with his Renault Megane.
And Garth Tander was the entertainer, and needs to continue in the series, as he was in the wars all weekend. It started with a high-speed spin during Friday practice and continued right through to the final lap in an Audi that was battle scarred on every panel.
“We weren’t going to be racing with five minutes before the start. But we got out there. And then I had what I reckon must have been a world-record slide in Turn 2,” he said.
But Leanne Tander put it best, after a torrid introduction to TCR racing.
“No matter where you are, there is always someone to race with,” she said.
Round 3 of the carsales TCR Australia Series will be held at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.