Privateer Zac Soutar takes maiden victory in AWC Race Tasmania finale
Honda privateer Zac Soutar has taken his first Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series win in dramatic circumstances as part of AWC Race Tasmania at Symmons Plains.
A penalty for HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan for weaving when the safety car lights were turned off allowed Soutar to take advantage in what was a chaotic final event.
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Buchan started from pole and won the start, but MPC Team LIQUI MOLY’s Will Brown made contact with Soutar, instantly spinning the Audi RS3 LMS TCR into the Turn 2 sand trap.
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The safety car was required, while crews retrieved Brown’s stricken Audi, with Buchan leading Soutar, Honda Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto, the Swyftx GRM Peugeot of earlier race winner Jordan Cox and his teammate Dylan O’Keeffe.
When the race restarted, the lead quartet continued to battle as chaos again ensued when O’Keeffe and Tilton Racing’s Brad Shiels collided entering the front straight, forcing the race to be red flagged to effect repairs to the tyre wall.
The race resumed after the stoppage and Buchan grew a gap quickly back to Soutar as D’Alberto had to be concerned by Cox.
However, Buchan was weaving at the restart and this earnt a 5s penalty.
Sweeny ran wide and lost position to teammate Morcom, while Michael Caruso continued his comeback drive after problems earlier in the weekend to be eighth driving the Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR.
An error from Cox at the hairpin dropping position to Shiels, but this reversed in the Peugeot driver’s favour a lap later in exactly the same move.
Debutant Bailey Sweeny ended his strong weekend to that point in the Turn 4 sand trap in the dying stages of the race.
With the penalty, Buchan needed to push, but it wasn’t enough as he only crossed the line 3s ahead of privateer Soutar giving the small team a dream result.
D’Alberto made it a Honda 1-2 as Cox secured third and Buchan fourth, as well as the series lead.
Rounding out the top 10 were Shiels, Nathan Morcom, Jay Hanson, Caruso, Aaron Cameron and Liam McAdam.
Buchan holds a two-point margin from Soutar, who holds the same advantage ahead of D’Alberto.
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series next visits Phillip Island for Round 2 as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships on March 18-20.