Heartbreak for Michael Caruso, as Jay Hanson takes win number four in Queensland
AWC MPC Racing’s Jay Hanson has taken his fourth victory of the season at Queensland Raceway and led an Audi 1-2 after late-race heartbreak for Autoglym Ashley Seward Motorsport driver Michael Caruso.
Caruso led 19 of the 21 laps, but an engine problem halted his run allowing Hanson and Brown to take a 1-2 victory for Melbourne Performance Centre as privateer Hyundai driver Luke King scored his second podium of the season.
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It wasn’t the fairytale front-row start Lachlan Mineeff was scheduled to make in the debut weekend for his Audi, but a transponder problem forced a pit lane start.
Caruso led the start as he was forced to defend from the privateer Honda of Michael Clemente through Turn 1, but this ran him wide and allowed inaugural series winner Will Brown in the MPC Team LIQUI MOLY Audi RS3 LMS TCR to move into second.
Further trouble for Clemente came exiting Turn 2 as he went wide onto the dirt and dropped back to sixth.
Another to experience troubles on the opening lap was HMO Customer Racing rookie Bailey Sweeny as he dropped outside the top 10 after running wide at Turn 5 in his Hyundai i30 N TCR.
The battle for the lead was close between Caruso and Brown, but the Autoglym Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR held sway despite the Audi’s advances.
Just as this was occurring, Swyftx GRM driver Jordan Cox in the lead Peugeot was battling the privateer Moutai/ZIP Pay Hyundai i30 N TCR of Luke King for the final step on the podium, however Hanson was lurking behind and indeed move through on the pair.
A retirement with title implications occurred when Dylan O’Keeffe’s Schaeffler GRM Peugeot 308 TCR entered pit lane with a holed radiator.
Another of the French hot hatches to hit trouble was the Valvoline Team GRM entry of Aaron Cameron as he failed to finish due to a mechanical malady.
Race 1 winner Tony D’Alberto was making steady progress from 10th in what was a fleet of Hondas, led by Clemente, but the series leader moved through at Turn 2 on lap 15 in the factory-supported Wall Racing Civic Type R TCR. This allowed the Spicers Australia Honda of Soutar and the charger of the race, James Moffat in the LMCT+ GRM Racing to progress as well.
Caruso maintained the lead as Hanson closed on Melbourne Performance Centre stablemate Brown, as King continued to hold off Cox in fifth from D’Alberto, Soutar, Moffat, Clemente and HMO Customer Racing’s Josh Buchan.
White puffs began to appear in the closing stages out of Caruso’s Alfa Romeo, but there were no indications of a problem, but this proved not to be the case with three laps remaining as it slowed along the back straight.
This left a tight battle between the two Audis for the lead, which fell in favour of Hanson to take win number four for the season ahead of Brown, King, Cox, D’Alberto, Soutar, Moffat, Clemente, Buchan and Nathan Morcom competed the top 10.
The third and final race of the day for Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series concludes the SpeedSeries round at Queensland Raceway at 4:10pm AEST live on Stan Sport.