Young Will Brown gave his father Shane the best possible Father’s Day gift when he handed him a pair of first place trophies after the carsales TCR Australia Series weekend at Winton Motor Raceway today.
Brown swept both Sunday races after a runner-up run on Saturday from pole position to cement himself in top spot at the top of the championship table, with a 116-point margin over Dylan O’Keefe with just six races to run in the inaugural series.
Brown set a new record for a winning TCR margin when he romped home by 10.74 seconds with his Hyundai i30N in the final race, refusing to slow down to improve the show or give his rivals a break.
Race 1 winner Jason Bright and Aaron Cameron shared the seconds from the Sunday stoushes in Volkswagen Golfs, with veteran Russell Ingall moving up steadily and stealthily through the weekend for the final podium place in Race 3 with an Audi RS3.
Bright blew his chance to challenge Brown when he stalled at the start of Race 3 in his Golf, eventually trailing home in 12th after starting from the front row.
Brown’s closest title challenger Dylan O’Keefe had a tyre failure in Race 2, dropping him to the back for Race 3. He made up some ground through the field, coming home eighth in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The straight line top speed will suit his car at Sandown, but he has a mountain to climb if he is to get on top of Brown.
Winton was a sub-par weekend for the Honda Civic drivers, as Tony D’Alberto could only finish sixth after three heats as he and John Martin were mostly towards the bottom of the top 10.
Chris Pither and James Moffat in Renault Meganes had even worse troubles, with Moffat hit by problems with the car’s drive-by-wire throttle and Pither finishing Race 2 collecting wall. The damage was too much to make it Race 3.
The penultimate round of the series will be held at Sandown Raceway, which promises to be a landmark race meeting for Australian motorsport with the debut of the new S5000 open-wheeler class. The event will be held on September 20-22.
Race 1 – Bright returns to victory lane by winning Race 1 at Winton
Jason Bright was all smiles as he returned to the winner’s circle at Winton for the first time since the opening weekend of the carsales TCR Australia Series.
The former Bathurst 1000 winner was the inaugural TCR winner at Sydney Motorsport Park in May but has battled car problems since then and only found a fundamental flaw in his Volkswagen Golf in the run-up to Winton.
With the car right, and thanks to an incident between pole-sitter Will Brown (Hyundai) and John Martin (Honda) as they fought for the early lead, Bright was able to drive from sixth on the grid to a confident victory ahead of Brown’s Hyundai i30 N with Dylan O’Keefe in third with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta after a 16-lap contest.
Brown and Martin both described their early contact as a racing incident, although the Honda Civic driver, who was defending a tenuous lead, suffered a flat tyre, causing another separate incident with Jordan Cox. Martin came home in 15th place.
The 19-car field was narrowed when the Renaults of both James Moffat and Chris Pither had fuel pressure problems during the warm-up lap.
Andre Heimgartner, who sat alongside Brown on the front of the grid in his Holden Astra, made a good start in his first race but struggled for speed and slipped back to seventh at the finish.