Young gun finds his rings
This season has so far been a mix of success and learning for Supercheap Auto TCR Australia young gun Jay Hanson.
Following his debut in the series last year, Hanson has ticked numerous ambitions off the list since linking up with title winning team Melbourne Performance Centre in what was the sole current specification Audi RS3 LMS TCR in the southern hemisphere.
Preparations for this season were rushed as the new chassis didn’t arrive at MPC’s headquarters until a week before AWC Race Tasmania and the trip across Bass Strait failed to allow Hanson an opportunity to test prior.
This didn’t matter as Hanson was among the frontrunners during practice when the season got underway at Symmons Plains before qualifying on the front row and taking a dream victory in the opening race.
A collision with James Moffat in the second race proved controversial as Hanson failed to finish before he charged to seventh in the interrupted final encounter.
At Tasmania, Hanson ticked achieved his maiden race victory and at Phillip Island he added another, but this time from pole position, scoring his first Astrontech cheque.
The inverted top 10 format in Race 2 led to sixth, but an early charge in the third appeared promising until contact with Jordan Cox approaching Turn 1 led to tyre damage and 18th.
Leaving the Island fifth in the series, Hanson was aiming high for Bathurst after a strong display early there last year in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR.
However, Heartbreak Mountain struck on Hanson’s first flying lap of practice when he hit the wall approaching The Cutting rendering his latest specification Audi out of proceedings for the rest of the weekend.
Moving into the team’s spare older model Audi RS3 LMS TCR, Hanson didn’t have the same success as he discovered there are distinctively different driving styles between the two.
Hanson scored a best of 14th denting his title aspirations.
After rapid work from the MPC team to repair the newer Audi, it was ready to go at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Hanson did win one race courtesy of the inverted top 10 of Race 2, but uncharacteristically was off the pace in Sydney as he enters the halfway mark of the season fifth in the points, 56 in arrears of Tony D’Alberto.
Hanson is still to unlock the full potential of the Audi and despite the next two circuits being new to the combination, the RS3 LMS TCR has seamlessly adapted to any challenge thrown at it so far.
Queensland Raceway is the next stop for Supercheap Auto TCR Australia and the SpeedSeries on August 5-7.