Chaz Mostert extends lead with opening Bathurst race win
Chaz Mostert has taken his third race of the 2021 TCR Australia season after a battle with Aaron Cameron went the way of the 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner, further extending his championship lead.
The Melbourne Performance Centre driver might have entered the race with the pole position but had to fight with 60kg of success ballast in his Audi RS 3 LMS, fighting back from a tough start to outpace the Garry Rogers Motorsport Peugeot 308 TCR of Cameron late in the race.
Starting from the outside of the front row, Cameron got the holeshot into Hell Corner, the GRM driver edging out polesitter Chaz Mostert to the first turn as further down the pack both HMO Customer Racing entered Hyundai i30 N TCR’s of Nathan Morcom and Josh Buchan were left sitting on the grid, having issues after a prolonged starting sequence.
Cameron soon checked out away from the rest of the field, leading the Audi of Mostert by two seconds at the conclusion of the second lap as the Melbourne Performance Centre driver adjusted to running with ballast onboard, soon getting himself into a groove and closer to the race leader.
Garth Tander held a solid third place in his first TCR Australia start of 2021, running some three seconds behind team-mate Mostert but holding the Ashley Seward Motorsport entry of Jay Hanson at bay, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR unable to keep up with Tander’s Audi.
Mostert continued to whittle down at Cameron’s lead, getting to within a second of the Peugeot at half race distance and putting big pressure on the race leader, continually looking for a passing opportunity which resulted in Cameron closing the door on Mostert twice on lap seven.
The strength of the Audi was shown when Mostert brushed the outside wall exiting The Cutting on the seventh lap, giving Cameron some breathing space but closing back in on the race leader, finally making a pass for the lead at Murray’s Corner.
Cameron didn’t let the two-time TCR Australia race winner go, hounding him across the top of the mountain but Mostert was able to break the tow down the straights, allowing him to stretch an unobtainable margin out front which let him take the win ahead of Cameron and Tander.
Hanson beat his ASM team-mate Lee Holdsworth to fourth place, the Alfa Romeo drivers beating the leading Honda Civic Type R of John martin who had checked out from the scrap behind him involving Hyundai’s Brad Shiels and Audi pilot Luke King in the last laps. From the back of the grid, Jordan Cox fought hard to come home ninth, just ahead of Tony D’Alberto rounding out the top ten.
Race two starts at 1225 local time.