Bailey Sweeny out to add further wins following Bathurst breakthrough
Impressive Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series rookie Bailey Sweeny was the surprise packet of the Bathurst round following victory in Race 2 and a podium to complete a successful weekend.
In doing so, the ‘Hyundai hoodoo’ at the Mountain appears to be broken following a dominating display in the second race by Sweeny, who won by 11s.
In what was a great start to the season at Symmons Plains where he replicated HMO Customer Racing teammate Josh Buchan’s podium on debut result, Sweeny believes his prior knowledge of the circuit allowed him solely focus on set-up contributed to his results last weekend.
“Our pace was surprising and it was good that we could make use of it in the last two races to show what we are capable of,” he reflected.
“This is normally a bogey track for us and it was quite the opposite this weekend.
“This is the first track that I’ve actually been to before meaning it was a lot less of a learning curve on Friday so we could focus on what the car was doing and get a lap time out of it.”
It came after being the only HMO Customer Racing representative in segment two of qualifying and an auspicious moment went touring car legend Dick Johnson made light contact with his i30 N TCR as the crew were pushing it out for the session.
Although it appeared no damage was caused at the time, the front splitter later broke as Sweeny began his flying lap in the second-part of qualifying leaving the young gun ninth on the grid.
What followed was ninth in Race 1, which led to a front-row start for the second action-paced affair. Dropping position to Tony D’Alberto following contact with Michael Caruso at Hell Corner, Sweeny completed an audacious move at The Chase to take James Moffat’s LMCT+ Racing GRM Renault Megane R.S. TCR, but also the Honda Wall Racing Civic Type R TCR to take second.
This move set-up his race victory as another brave overtake at The Chase followed on Caruso, before streaking away from the field.
Another podium followed in Race 3 as he battled established names, elbows and all.
“We haven’t done much testing, but the confidence has building at each round,” Sweeny said.
“Even though the results don’t really show, we’ve been improving every round.
“In the early days of TCR, Josh and Nathan were very helpful in getting me up to speed. I thank them and the team, they couldn’t be more accommodating the whole time.”
Now heading to Sydney Motorsport Park – a Hyundai friendly circuit – Sweeny hopes his Bathurst form translates to success at his local circuit.
“It’s pretty much a home track for me in Sydney and the team has been pretty strong there in the past,” he explained.
“If you look at the previous form, you’d think we’d be at the front, but we’re also carrying a bit of weight so I don’t want to get the hopes up to high, but we should be looking great for Sydney.”
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia continues at Sydney Motorsport Park as part of a bumper Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships round on May 27-29 live and uninterrupted on Stan Sport.