Michael Clemente charges to victory with late move in Phillip Island Race 2
Cupra driver Michael Clemente claimed victory in the second TCR Australia race of the weekend at Phillip Island with a strong move on the last lap.
Brad Harris started from the reversed grid pole position in his privately entered Honda Civic Type R TCR, with Jordan Cox of Garry Rogers Motorsport alongside on the front row. Just the top nine were reversed for the grid as only nine cars were classified in the first race.
At the start, Cox took the lead ahead of Harris, with Clemente settling into third place.
Lachlan Mineeff (Audi RS 3 LMS) went wide and into the gravel trap on lap four. He was able to return to the track, albeit down in 13th and last place.
The heat was on the fight for eighth place, with Zac Soutar of Tufflift Racing coming under fire from Ashley Seward Racing driver Tom Oliphant (Lynk & Co 03 TCR).
Hyundai driver Bailey Sweeny overtook Aaron Cameron for fifth place on lap six.
Clemente attacked Cox for the lead on lap seven, momentarily getting past, before the Peugeot driver got ahead again. The fight between the two leaders allowed Peugeot 308TCR driver Ben Bargwanna to close the gap to the leading duo.
Bargwanna’s Garry Rogers Motorsport team-mate Kody Garland was losing ground and came under attack from Soutar and Oliphant, also bringing with them Saturday’s winner Josh Buchan of HMO Customer Racing.
Clemente tried Cox’s inside on the last lap for the lead, with both cars making contact. And Clemente managed to make the move stick, claiming the win ahead of Cox, while Bargwanna completed the podium.
Harris was fourth, followed by Sweeny and Cameron. Zoutar crossed the line on seventh place, followed by Oliphant and Garland, who lost two places on the last lap following a mistake. Buchan completed the top ten.
“I’m speechless about this result, it’s been a long time coming, debuting with the car and with the family here, it’s been emotional,” said Clemente after the race.
Sweeny leads the championship with 212 points, 21 ahead of Cameron and 24 ahead of Cox.
Race 3 is scheduled for 16:15 local time (8:15 CEST), although the programme at Phillip Island is running delayed due to fog early in the morning.