11 September 2021 |

TCR Australia rewind – From Bunnings to pole position

When Supercheap Auto TCR Australia first visited The Bend Motorsport Park in July 2019, the field was greeted to greasy conditions on Friday for practice.

Series leader Will Brown was caught out by the damp state of the circuit in his HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30N TCR and slammed into the rear of James Moffat’s Garry Rogers Motorsport Renault Megane R.S. TCR.

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Both entries were heavily damaged, but returned to the track the next day for qualifying and Race 1.

“It was 100 per cent my fault,” Brown admitted. “The car aquaplaned and I slid into him.”

“I went straight down to apologise. It’s definitely not something I like. I would rather have crashed into the wall than hit him.”

Repairs to the Brown’s i30N TCR included a full strip down of the front end, the radiators needed to be replaced as did the bodywork, though the front chassis rails were undamaged.

“We were lucky, it is relatively easy to repair,” said Brown.

Moffat’s French hot hatch featured big damage to the rear, which led to a trip to Bunnings to purchase replacement polycarbonate as the team manufacturered a new rear windscreen to complete the repair.

The exhaust and rear roll bar were taken into the township of Tailem Bend to effect repairs on those components.

“It was a massive hit, I didn’t even see him coming,” Moffat described.

“It was pretty slippery at that corner and I think he got caught out. He’s been to apologise and that’s fine.”

GRM worked overnight and completed final preparations ahead of qualifying where Moffat rewarded the effort by securing the first pole position for Renault in TCR competition worldwide using a trick tyre strategy.

Used in WTCR, Moffat’s crew mixed slick fronts with grooved rears in a gamble, which proved extremely effective.

“We had nothing to lose,” said Moffat. “The car was nowhere in the wet so we gambled on the tyres and it worked.

“I was able to snag the last lap as the track dried. It’s great payback for the crew after all their work.”

In the weekend’s three races, Moffat finished seventh in the opener before finishing third in the final two.

Brown was second in the opening race behind the Audi of Garth Tander before going one better in the second. He capped off the weekend with fifth in the finale.