Clemente dominates race one at Winton
Carl Cox Motorsport’s Michael Clemente has converted his maiden Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series pole position into a dominant lights-to-flag win at Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton.
Pole-sitter Clemente made a brilliant start to lead comfortably into the first corner in his Cupra Leon, whilst Josh Buchan took his Hyundai i30N Sedan past his HMO Customer Racing teammate Bailey Sweeny’s older-spec i30N to slot into second.
There was the usual Winton turn one drama involving three of the four Garry Rogers Motorsport Peugeots as Ben Bargwanna and Kody Garland both took to the infield, the latter after being hit by Team Valvoline GRM teammate Aaron Cameron.
Cameron then had a wild moment at the exit of turn six the following lap, with a big slide through the run-off area forcing the Peugeot to tour through the sodden outfield and rejoin the track at the turn nine hairpin.
Jordan Cox made it four GRM Peugeots out of four involved in contact in the opening exchanges, forcing his Schaeffler Peugeot past Tony D’Alberto’s Honda Civic at turn four amongst the opening lap skirmish.
Buchan ran wide at the exit of the turn nine hairpin on lap three, allowing teammate Sweeny and Zac Soutar’s Audi RS3 LMS TCR through.
As the race entered its closing stages, the gap between Clemente and Sweeny closed to within a second, as the pair put over five seconds on Soutar’s Audi, and over ten seconds on Buchan, who had Cox tucked in right behind.
A lock-up heading into turn eleven on the penultimate lap cruelled Sweeny’s charge to the front, stretching Clemente’s lead back out to just over a second, a margin he held right to the chequered flag.
Zac Soutar rounded out the podium, a result that Team Soutar Motorsport will hope represents a turning point in what has been a tough 2023 season to date.
Buchan would claim fourth, ahead of Cox’s Peugeot, D’Alberto’s Honda, Bargwanna’s Peugeot, and Lachlan Mineeff in his older-spec Audi RS3 LMS SEQ.
Clay Richards enjoyed a solid run on TCR Australia debut to finish ninth, whilst Tom Oliphant rounded out the top ten, and will start the reverse top ten Race 2 tomorrow off pole position.
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series is back for two more races tomorrow at Winton, with Race 2 at 12:30pm and Race 3 at 4:10pm.
You can catch all the action live, ad-break free, and on demand on Stan Sport.