24 March 2022 |

Luck cruels Michael Clemente’s return

A mechanical problem hampered Michael Clemente’s return to the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series while in a competitive position.

Phillip Island was a happy hunting ground for Clemente in 2021 where he scored a top five result and filled the young gun with confidence as Round 2 last weekend marked his re-entry to the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series.

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After securing support from international DJ Carl Cox and lubricants company Motul ahead of his return, Clemente qualified 12th to finish ninth in Race 1 earning a front-row start for the second event.

Leading for the first few laps, he was overtaken and stayed with race winner Fabian Coulthard until a mechanical malady forced Clemente out for the remainder of the weekend.

“We got a really good start and we worked the car pretty hard, which I think we got working pretty well for the second race,” he explained.

“I got a killer start and managed to lead for a few laps, which was awesome. I saw Fabs coming and he got me down at Turn 2, but I stuck with him, and I think we were pulling away. I was not losing anything to him, which was good.

“I was coming down the straight on lap 6 I lost all boost and power. I had no radio either, so I was trying to see what was going on, but there wasn’t much we could do and it was a popped motor again.

“At first it looked ok, there was compression and oil pressure, but then when the engine spooled down and we went to start it back up before Race 3 to warm it up, it looked like a head gasket had gone.”

This is the second mechanical malady to be inflicted on the team following a fanbelt failure during the Easter round at Bathurst last year led to a mammoth overnight engine change completed by his small, family operation.

“We did a fanbelt at Bathurst last year and to do it again is weird, but back to the drawing board so we’ll sort it out,” he said.

Reflecting on a positive weekend, Clemente’s confidence in his Honda Civic Type R TCR has grown significantly and is eager to keep this momentum.

“We struggled a little bit in qualifying and Race 1 we picked up ninth,” said Clemente.

“The car felt really pacey and it wasn’t really dying off like the others seemed to. In Race 2, the car was mega and I was able to lean on it whereas Fabs was quite taily, while I was stable, plus the tyre life was really good.

“I think we’ve got a really good car and team but sometimes shit happens.”

More than 70-entries have been received for this year’s Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour in what is the ultimate production car event, which is joined by the third round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia and Turtle Wax Trans Am Series, the MRF Tyres Australian Pulsar Racing Association, NSW Historic Touring Cars and NSW HQ Holdens.

All of the action will be live, ad-break free and on demand exclusively on Stan Sport in Australia.

CLICK HERE to secure your tickets to the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.