John Martin became the third different winner from three starts, and scored the first success for Honda, as the TCR Australia Series wrapped at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia today.
Martin started from fourth and moved forward in the opening laps in his Civic Type R before pouncing on early leader Garth Tander’s Audi RS3 at the halfway point of the final 30-minute contest of the weekend, eventually taking a solid success ahead of Tander and James Moffat in a hastily-repaired Renault Megane.
Will Brown, who scored his fourth win from eight starts in the first of Sunday’s two contests, led from pole position but was jumped by the others and ran wide at one stage to only trail home in fifth. Even so, he still leads the series by 280 points to the 211 of Alfa Romeo racer Dylan O’Keefe, with Honda’s best-placed Tony D’Alberto on 183.
The final race of the chilly weekend was mostly trouble-free, following a crash-fest in the second leg that reduced the original field of 19 cars to 15 as Chris Pither’s Renault and James Vernon’s Alfa could not be repaired. Alexandra Whitley and Chelsea Angelo also retired with mechanical troubles.
Martin said he enjoyed his battle with Tander and pounced when he saw an opening.
“When I got the opportunity I just drove it in there. I knew I wouldn’t get the golden opportunity again,” he said.
“Once I got in front I as able to to build a gap and bring it home.”
Tander admitted an error but was also happy to take three podiums and top points for the weekend, although he only has one other TCR weekend on his schedule for the rest of the year.
“The car was mega in the early part of the race but the tyres went away in the middle part,” Tander said.
“It was good to get another opportunity in TCR and and find myself on the podium in all three races.”
Moffat managed a pair of thirds for the weekend after a massive practice crash on Friday, and would have done better after taking pole for Race 1 if he had not been turned around by rookie Jordan Cox.
“To even make the race on Saturday was a phenomenal effort by the team. I think we got back to where we should have been at the start of the weekend,” Moffat said.
“There is still a lot of potential in the car. There are only four of these racing in the world and we have two of them here in Australia.”
The third race was surprisingly incident-free after the first turn, where O’Keefe hit D’Alberto in a move that dropped the Honda driver out of any contention and left him seventh at the finish.
The carsales TCR Australia Series now heads to Queensland Raceway for the fourth leg of the championship from August 2-4.
Results, Race 3
|1||24||John Martin (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||14||27:41.8519|
|2||4||Garth Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||14||27:44.6237|
|3||34||James Moffat (Vic)||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Renault Megane RS||14||27:45.7600|
|4||38||Jordan Cox (NSW)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||14||27:46.5200|
|5||30||William Brown (Qld)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||14||27:53.5572|
|6||100||Russell Ingall (Qld)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||14||27:54.2496|
|7||50||Tony D’Alberto (Vic)||Wall Racing||Honda Civic Type R||14||27:55.3037|
|8||11||Nathan Morcom (NSW)||HMO Customer Racing||Hyundai i30N||14||27:55.6627|
|9||8||Jason Bright (Vic)||Taskforce / Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||14||27:58.5358|
|10||3||Leanne Tander (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Audi RS 3||14||28:04.2033|
|11||9||Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)||Ashley Seward Motorsport||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||14||28:04.4956|
|12||62||Alex Rullo (WA)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||14||28:13.8381|
|13||2||Aaron Cameron (Vic)||Melbourne Performance Centre||Volkswagen Golf GTI||14||28:21.8609|
|DNF||37||Chelsea Angelo (Vic)||Kelly Racing||Holden Astra||6||14:49.5155|
|DNF||35||Alexandra Whitley (Qld)||Alliance Autosport||Volkswagon Golf GTI||2||4:44.4029|