Josh Buchan claims lights to flag win in first Phillip Island race
Josch Buchan of HMO Customer Racing had a trouble-free run to win from the pole position in Race 1 at Phillip Island, host of the second 2023 TCR Australia round.
The Hyundai Elantra N TCR driver had claimed pole position with a lap time of 1:36.797, followed by Audi driver Zac Soutar of Team Soutar Motorsport. Tony D’Alberto (Honda Civic Type R TCR) and championship leader Bailey Sweeny (Hyundai i30 N TCR) completed the second row.
At the start, Buchan took the lead ahead of D’Alberto and Soutar, with Peugeot 308TCR driver Ben Bargwanna climbing to fourth place.
Lachlan Mineeff of Forza Brakes Motorsport overtook Aaron Cameron (Peugeot) for fifth place on lap four.
Bargwanna came under fire from Mineeff on lap six, also bringing Cameron to the fight. At the front, Buchan built a comfortable lead as D’Alberto fenced off Soutar’s attacks.
Mineeff overtook Bargwanna for fourth place on lap seven while Soutar retired to the pits with technical issues at the end of the lap.
Sweeny, who had fallen down the order at the start, was recovering ground and overtook Bargwanna for fifth place on lap ten.
Tom Oliphant, debuting the Lynk & Co 03 TCR of Ashley Seward Motorsport hit trouble on lap 12, heading into the pits with a suspected tyre issue.
Mineeff closed the gap to D’Alberto, coming under the reigning champion’s rear bumper on lap 14, with the Audi driver overtaking for second place. D’Alberto suffered a right front tyre failure shortly afterwards, limping back to the pits.
Buchan crossed the finishing line first, two seconds ahead of Mineeff and close to five seconds ahead of Cameron who completed the podium. Sweeny recovered to fourth place, with Bargwanna right behind in fifth.
Michael Clemente, debuting the Cupra León Competición of Carl Cox Motorsport, was sixth, followed by Kody Garland of Garry Rogers Motorsport.
Team-mate Jordan Cox crossed the line in eighth place, followed by Honda drivers D’Alberto and Brad Harris.
Sweeny leads the drivers’ table on 185 points, followed by D’Alberto and Cameron 22 points behind.
Race 2 is scheduled for 11:30 on Sunday morning local time, 03:30 CEST.