CLEMENTE, CAMERON SPLIT FRIDAY PRACTICE AT WINTON
Carl Cox Motorsport’s Michael Clemente and Team Valvoline GRM’s Aaron Cameron have set the fastest times in the two Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series practice sessions at Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton.
The brand-new Cupra Leon Competition TCR had great pace on Australian debut at Phillip Island, highlighted by Clemente’s fairytale maiden win in TCR Australia, and the Victorian backed that up in this morning’s first session, topping the timesheets with a 1m 26.7965s.
HMO Customer Racing duo Josh Buchan and Bailey Sweeny were behind Clemente, with Hyundai looking to repeat eventual champion Will Brown’s clean sweep of the last TCR Australia round in 2019.
Reigning TCR Australia champion Tony D’Alberto slotted into fourth in his Honda Civic FK7 TCR, whilst Zac Soutar rounded out the top five in his Audi RS3 LMS TCR, with just over a tenth covering the top five in a very competitive session.
There were a few problems for drivers in the morning session, with the red flag being displayed to allow for a track clean-up, though it was only a brief stoppage.
TCR Australia debutant Clay Richards, son of five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Steve and grandson of seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner Jim, missed the entirety of the morning session after discovering a power steering issue on his install lap.
The Shannons Insurance MPC entry would enjoy a much smoother run in the second practice session, as he made his way into the top five at the midway point before eventually slotting into ninth, half a second off the pace.
Setting that pace was Team Valvoline GRM Peugeot pilot Aaron Cameron, who set the fastest time of the day at a 1m 26.2111s.
Cameron had just set the fastest time of the day in the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship in the previous track session, and was so confident with his Peugeot 308 TCR that he returned to the pits a minute before the chequered flag waved.
D’Alberto was next, only seven hundredths away from Cameron, with Sweeny, Ben Bargwanna, and Clemente rounding out the top five, all covered by two and a half tenths of a second.
Autoglym / Ashley Seward Motorsport’s Tom Oliphant had a difficult day as he got back to grips with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta he ran in Tasmania after a testing mishap rendered the Lynk & Co 03 that showed promise at Phillip Island unusable.
The Briton was classified in eleventh and twelfth in the two practice sessions today.
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series next hit the track for Qualifying 1 at 11:50am tomorrow, immediately followed by Qualifying 2 at 12:05pm before TCR Australia’s first race at Winton since 2019 commences at 4:10pm.
You can catch all the action live, on-demand, and ad-break free on Stan Sport.