Bailey Sweeny takes maiden win in entertaining affair at the Mountain
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series rookie Bailey Sweeny has taken his maiden victory in Race 2 at Bathurst to become the 19th category winner after a dominating display.
Sweeny took victory by 11.4s clear of James Moffat in the LMCT+ Racing GRM Renault Megane R.S. TCR as HMO Customer Racing teammate Josh Buchan broke the Hyundai hoodoo at the Mountain to take third.
Caruso led into Hell Corner as contact came from Sweeny on the outside leading to D’Alberto taking second.
His Wall Racing teammate Tim Slade was in the top five, but dropped out of the battle in the Stan Sport Honda Civic Type R TCR with a problem and dropped him out of the race.
Meanwhile, at the front Caruso was just holding on as D’Alberto appeared to challenge, but in turn Sweeny took advantage as the Honda Australia Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR dropped further position to Moffat.
Meanwhile, Swyftx GRM Peugeot’s Jordan Cox started scything through the field to be 11th by lap 2.
Action was everywhere as Sweeny on lap 3 took the lead with a brave pass on the inside of The Chase and began to gap Caruso.
After taking third at one point, HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan locked up at The Chase passing Aaron Cameron in the process, but forcing the Valvoline Team GRM off the track.
Caruso dropped further position again at The Chase as Moffat took second, though had a mission to gain on Sweeny as he had a 6s margin.
Cox’s run ended when stablemate Cameron tapped the rear of the Swyftx GRM Peugeot at Murray’s Corner dropping him back to 13th.
In what was the strongest race for Hyundai at the Mountain, Sweeny led by 8s and Buchan was moving up as he passed D’Alberto along the front straight, though it was far from easy as he got squeezed towards the pit wall.
The fight for podium was on with Caruso, Buchan, O’Keeffe, D’Alberto and Cameron battling hard, with the latter challenging the series leader around the outside at The Cutting.
Moffat held a slight advantage in second, but Caruso was having trouble holding back Buchan in third as O’Keeffe lurked waiting for an opportunity.
Buchan made his move at McPhillamy Park demoting Caruso to fourth and in falling into the clutches of O’Keeffe into The Esses.
However, it was Sweeny in a faultless performance finishing 11.4s clear of Moffat, who replicated Renault developer Milenko Vukovic’s podium in TCR Eastern Europe last weekend, and a charging Buchan in an entertaining affair.
Polesitter Caruso held onto fourth from O’Keeffe, D’Alberto, Burson Auto Parts Peugeot driver Ben Bargwanna, the Royal Purple Racing Hyundai i30N TCR of Brad Shiels, Race 1 winner Cameron and Will Brown in the LIQUI MOLY Team MPC Audi.
Cox recovered to 11th following his retirement due to overheating in the opening race.
The final race of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series third round at Bathurst 10:10am AEST live and uninterrupted on Stan Sport.