Josh Buchan scorches Sydney to take dominant pole position
HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan has sealed pole position for tonight’s maiden race under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park for Round 4 of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series in a remarkable display.
Buchan led home teammate Nathan Morcom in the session, although an engine change prior to the session for the latter leaves a five place grid penalty imposed elevating inaugural series winner Will Brown to a front-row berth.
In the first segment of qualifying, Jay Hanson set the early benchmark in his return to the latest specification Audi RS3 LMS TCR albeit was impaired on his lap.
Quickly bettering Hanson’s time were Valvoline Team GRM’s Aaron Cameron, Will Brown in the LIQUI MOLY Team MPC Audi and last year’s double winner Josh Buchan, who set a 1m 32.924s.
Teammate Nathan Morcom made it a 1-2 at the top of the standings 0.552 behind as Brown was third followed by yesterday’s opening practice pacesetter, Honda Australia Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto and Schaeffler GRM driver Dylan O’Keeffe in the lead Peugeot.
However, there was to be a shake up in the top five as a stunning lap from privateer Zac Soutar placed his Spicers Australia Honda Civic Type R TCR second with a 1m 33.370s.
Following on from his comeback at Bathurst, Moutai/ZIP PAY Hyundai driver Luke King was seventh from Autoglym Ashley Seward Motorsport’s Michael Caruso after a last gasp lap in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR. It was also just reward for his team after a late night fixing a mechanical problem.
Cameron just progressed, as did stablemate Jordan Cox in the Swyftx GRM Peugeot.
Alfa Romeo privateer Braydan Willmington failed to set a lap after recurring turbo hose problems emerged again after trying to rectify it overnight and Hanson went off at Turn 1 during the session’s closing stages.
Missing the top 10 were Fabian Coulthard in his return to the category driving the Stan Sport Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR and the LMCT+ Racing GRM Renault Megane RS TCR of James Moffat.
Royal Purple Racing’s Brad Shiels finished 13th in his Hyundai ahead of Hanson, the Valvoline Racing GRM Renault of rookie Kody Garland, Ben Bargwanna in the Burson Auto Parts Peugeot, Motul Honda privateer Michael Clemente, Bailey Sweeny of HMO Customer Racing, Lachlan Mineeff in the Purple Sector Volkswagen Golf GTI and Challenge Motorsport Audi’s Iain McDougall.
To kick off the fight for pole Soutar set the early marker at a 1m 33.414s, but Brown lowered the time by 0.145s in a matter of seconds.
But it was Buchan setting the timing screens to purple as he dropped to a 1m 32.628s as Cameron demoted Soutar a further position to sit third.
Replicating his performance in the first stage of qualifying, Morcom moved to second, but was still 0.524s off his teammate’s scorching pace as an engine change prior to the session drops him five positions, so he will start from seventh.
No one was able to defeat Buchan’s time as he shares the front-row with Brown, behind Cameron lines up alongside stablemate Cox.
Lead Honda was Soutar as he lines up fifth from O’Keeffe as Morcom slots in next followed by D’Alberto, Caruso and King.
Don’t miss tonight’s history making maiden Supercheap Auto TCR Australia race under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park on Stan Sport and 9Gem beginning at 6:55pm AEST.