Jason Bright was all smiles as he returned to the winner’s circle at Winton for the first time since the opening weekend of the carsales TCR Australia Series.
The former Bathurst 1000 winner was the inaugural TCR winner at Sydney Motorsport Park in May but has battled car problems since then and only found a fundamental flaw in his Volkswagen Golf in the run-up to Winton.
With the car right, and thanks to a punch-up between Will Brown and John Martin as they fought for the early lead, Bright was able to drive to a confident victory ahead of Brown’s Hyundai i30 N with Dylan O’Keefe in third with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta after a 16-lap contest.
“We’ve been all at sea. But we found a cracked crossmember and now the car is right we have the speed,” Bright said.
“Hopefully we can have a good run from here for the rest of the championship.”
Brown and Martin both described their early contact as a racing incident, although the Honda Civic driver – who was defending a tenuous lead – suffered a flat tyre and only trailed home 15th after stopping for a replacement.
“We were door-to-door. He sent one down into Turn 11 and I cut back into 12,” Martin said.
“He turned in, we made contact, he went into the bush and I got a puncture. It’s one of those things. A racing incident.
“I could have given him the position but that was never going to happen.”
The first 19-car field in TCR history should have taken the start at Winton, but both James Moffat and Chris Pither had mechanical troubles during the warm-up with their Renault Meganes – Moffat had fuel pressure drama – and neither completed a racing lap.
Andre Heimgartner, who sat alongside Brown on the front of the grid, made a good start in his first race with a Holden Astra but struggled for speed and slipped back to seventh at the finish.
“We de-tuned it too much. I’m a bit frustrated, but it is what it is,” Heimgartner said.
“We’re still learning this car. We’re understanding what it needs. We’ve got two more races tomorrow.”
The championship continues with two more Winton races before the series moves to Sandown Raceway, where Brown and Martin are both planning to continue their TCR rivalry and front-running pace in the inaugural race for the V8-powered, single-seater S5000 category.