Garth Tander takes his and Audi's first victory in TCR Australia at The Bend
Garth Tander added two new names to the winner’s list with a come-from-behind victory in the first of three carsales TCR Australian Series races at The Bend Motorsport Park today.
The former Supercars and Bathurst 1000 champion put himself and Audi onto the honour role with a confident run to victory, despite a half-spin that dropped him back to fourth at the midway point of the 30-minute contest.
TCR Australia Series leader Will Brown was the stand-out as he dashed from 16th on the grid to second at the finish in his Hyundai i30 N, helped by a penalty to early leader and category debutant Jordan Cox in a Honda.
Cox ran second on the opening lap but bumped the pole-sitting Renault Megane of James Moffat off the circuit, incurring a 10 second time penalty. Cox was eventually classified seventh.
Cox’s Honda team-mates Tony D’Alberto and John Martin both endured difficult races. D’Alberto led the opening few corners, only top spear off the circuit. He fought back to eighth overall.
Martin was also in contention for a podium, but an errant piece of bodywork from Alex Rullo’s Holden Astra became wedged in his front grill, overheating the engine of his Civic Type R. Martin crossed the line in third place.
Volkswagen Golf driver Aaron Cameron finished third, and in doing so, moved up to third in the series standings.
Series contender Dylan O’Keeffe had a disappointing race, with a turbo failure putting him on the sidelines three laps from the finish. He was running in the top five at the time.
Engine issues halted the progress of the two Subarus of Andre Heimgartner and Molly Taylor, while Jason Bright (VW Golf) and Chelsea Angelo (Holden Astra) both suffered tyre blow outs from debris on the circuit.
Tomorrow will feature two more TCR Australia Series races, with Race 2 kicking off at 12:45pm Adelaide time, and the third race at 1:50pm.
You can catch the races live, free and in HD on SBS, or watch the live stream on TCR Australia’s website.
Garth Tander crosses the line to win his first TCR Australia Series race. Click on image for high-resolution image options.
Driver, Melbourne Performance Centre Audi
"It's fantastic to get the first win for Audi in TCR Australia, they support the series globally in a big way," said Garth Tander.
"For Melbourne Performance Centre, Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia and Audi Australia, to get their first win in the category today is great, so hopefully we can repeat that tomorrow.
"It was one of those races where everyone made a few mistakes because of the changing conditions, and no one had done a dry lap around The Bend until the race and even then it was still raining at the start so it threw everything at us.
"The first few laps were challenging and I made a small mistake, it was a front-wheel drive rookie error which I figured out late in the race, so it was a matter of minimising those mistakes and capitalising on everyone else’s to get the win."
Driver, HMO Customer Racing Hyundai
"We didn’t really have the pace in the wet but to come back and get on the podium from 16th is great, and that was a pretty cool race," said Will Brown.
"At the start I wanted to approach the first corner slower than the others around me because these cars tend to lose the rear at the start, and because I entered slower I was able to get a good exit so I was able to get around a few early.
"The guys at HMO Customer Racing gave me a great car and I was able to move up the field and bring home a trophy for them, so we’ll take that confidence into Race 2 and 3 tomorrow."
Driver, Melbourne Performance Centre VW
"It was great to bring home another podium for Melbourne Performance Centre and to move up to third in the championship," said Aaron Cameron.
"I’ve had a new engineer in Blake Smith who joined the team at Phillip Island, he’s had so much knowledge from the different categories he’s worked in before.
"We’re always working through setup changes and he’s been great on the data analysis side of it as well which has been great for our confidence moving forward."