Mechanical maladies strike rivals as Aaron Cameron just misses top 10 in France
After striking mechanical trouble prior to qualifying, it was the turn of Aaron Cameron’s rivals to endure dramas during the two races held to decide the Touring Car medal at Paul Ricard for the second FIA Motorsport Games.
An engine change forced the Team Australia representative to start from the back, but making his characteristic fast starts Cameron was on the out edges of the top 10. Although dominated by Team Belgium’s Gilles Magnus, the Qualifying Race provided plenty of action for Cameron as he battled Brazil, Venezuela, Norway and Italy to finish 12th.
The speed of the Team Clairet Sport Peugeots was strong, as Cameron demonstrated as pseudo teammate and Team France representative Teddy Clairet finished fourth in the Qualifying Race.
Magnus led throughout to win pole for the Feature Race where the medals were to be decided from Netherlands veteran Tom Coronel as Audi took a 1-2 from Ireland’s Jack Young in a Honda.
Although Audi dominated at the front, there was concern after both Travis Hill of Team Canada and Team Sweden’s Andreas Backman retired due to driveline failures in their RS3 LMS TCRs.
Magnus headed into the final as the hot favourite and led the opening lap until retiring with a technical problem, leaving Coronel to win from Team Spain’s Isidro Callejas and Young after a penalty was imposed.
Cameron again made a great start as he battled motorsport’s version of the Ashes with Team United Kingdom’s Chris Smiley during the first half of the race. Smiley last week won the TCR UK title and also held the ascendency in the ‘Ashes’ as he passed Cameron to end the race eighth.
Battling Canada, Venezuela, Brazil, Switzerland and Italy, Cameron was in the thick of it as he climbed to eighth before dropping back to 11th as the Peugeot lacked in straight line pace compared to the rival Audi, Honda and Cupra models.
Unfortunately, Clairet retired on home turf during an intense battle for third with Young.
In front of more than 40,000 fans, it proved quite the experience for Cameron as he learnt quite a bit from the experience as he and Clairet prepare for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International on November 11-13.
“The weekend obviously didn’t start the greatest, but to finish it in 11th and we were fighting for seventh or eighth just the little Pug doesn’t exactly have the straight line to defend, but it was a great way to end,” said Cameron.
“I had some awesome battle with the UK, Venezuela, Brazil, there were all of these countries going on. It was all respectable and a little bit of contact, but it was good fun.
“It’s been a great weekend.”
Cameron and Clairet will form a five-entry Garry Rogers Motorsport attack on the Mountain at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International on November 11-13.
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