Photo: TCR Australia

Ben Bargwanna takes TCR Australia points lead with Sandown Race 3 win

Ben Bargwanna leaves the opening TCR Australia round of 2024 as points leader after winning Race 3 at Sandown Raceway.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport driver also won Race 1, but finishing behind his rival and reigning champion Josh Buchan in the reversed-grid Race 2 meant it was Buchan who started on pole for the final race of the weekend.

However a stronger start in his Peugeot 308TCR meant Bargwanna took the lead on the opening lap and then pulled away to win by 3.283 seconds after initially facing some pressure from his rival. Buchan set the race’s fastest lap in his Hyundai i30 N TCR and had a gap of 1.421s to Race 2 winner Jordan Cox in third place.

Victory put Bargwanna back on top of the championship standings by two points over Buchan, with Cox a further four points behind. Zac Soutar finished the race in fourth to sit fourth in the points table ahead of Ryan Casha.

Tony D’Alberto finished sixth, Clay Richards was seventh and Aaron Cameron settled for eighth. He had set the pace in practice, but failed to feature near the front in any of the races. Brad Harris came home tenth on-the-road, but a 15s penalty applied post-race relegated him to 12th place.

After an incident in Race 2 left his Audi RS 3 LMS requiring repairs, Glenn Nirwan made it into Race 3 but had to start from the pits. He finished a very distant 14th and last, with Tom Oliphant the only retiree.

Round two of the season takes place at Symmons Plains Raceway on March 15-17.