10 June 2023 |

Clemente claims maiden TCR Australia pole

Carl Cox Motorsport’s Michael Clemente has claimed a breakthrough pole position in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series at Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton.

Clemente took his Cupra Leon Competition TCR to a 1m 24.8410s, besting current series leader Bailey Sweeny’s Hyundai i30N TCR by just five hundredths of a second, and were the only two drivers to break into the 1m 24s bracket.

As the field ventured out for the first segment of qualifying, it became quickly apparent that generating rear tyre temperature was a difficult task in the front-wheel drive racers.

The first session was fortunate not to be red flagged after first Brad Harris, then Clay Richards both had wild offs at the Turn 5 sweeper, luckily coming to rest on an infield access road.

Both Richards and Harris would be in the unlucky quartet eliminated in Qualifying 1, with Richards’ Shannons Insurance MPC Audi missing out on advancing to Qualifying 2 by five hundredths of a second.

Kody Garland was twelfth in his Team Valvoline Peugeot ahead of the Challenge Motorsport Audi of TCR Australia returnee Iain McDougall, with Harris rounding out the fourteen-car field in his Exclusive Switchboards / Wall Racing Honda.

Clemente topped the timesheets in the first session with a 1m 25.2355s, ahead of the Audi RS3 LMS TCR of Zac Soutar, with Sweeny rounding out the top three just under half a second behind Clemente.

The intensity ramped up in Qualifying 2, as the top ten drivers battled for what is sure to be an important pole position at the tricky Winton circuit.

Clemente set his ultimately pole-winning lap with plenty of time to spare, however only Sweeny appeared to have any sort of answer.

On the second row of the grid is Sweeny’s HMO Customer Racing teammate Josh Buchan in the newer-spec Hyundai i30N Sedan ahead of reigning champion Tony D’Alberto’s Honda Civic FK7 TCR.

Soutar will line up in fifth, alongside Friday fast man Aaron Cameron’ Peugeot 308 TCR, with fellow GRM Peugeot drivers Ben Bargwanna and Jordan Cox making up the fourth row of the grid.

Lachlan Mineeff’s Audi RS3 LMS SEQ will start from ninth, whilst the Autoglym / Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo of Tom Oliphant rounds out the top ten.

Race 1 for the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series gets underway at 4:10pm this afternoon.

You can catch all the action live, ad-break free, and on-demand on Stan Sport.