Clemente’s luck turns at Winton
Carl Cox Motorsport’s Michael Clemente suffered a rollercoaster of emotions at Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton earlier this month, with a race win overshadowed by a DNS and a DNF during the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series’ three races.
After picking up his first category race win at Phillip Island, Clemente continued on his run by taking an important pole position on Saturday morning at Winton Motor Raceway.
The 23-year-old had no problems in converting his pole position into a race win later on in the afternoon, finding himself as high as second in the series standings at the conclusion of the day’s action.
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Clemente was on a high after a run of successful results in his brand new Cupra Leon, but his luck started to turn come Sunday morning when the team was forced to pull out of the second race due to a clutch issue.
While the DNS didn’t prove detrimental to Clemente’s title hopes, his Sunday went from bad to worse after an unfortunate incident during an intriguing battle for podium positions with title rivals Josh Buchan and Zac Soutar in the dying stages of race three.
Clemente attempted to close the door on a potential move from Soutar but found himself spinning off the track and into the wall at the penultimate corner, ending his race as a result.
Clemente had mixed emotions about his weekends results but still took away plenty of positives.
“It started off pretty unbelievable, getting on pole was something I was working hard towards in the build-up to the weekend, so to achieve that was great,” Clemente said.
“To follow it up from Phillip Island was really cool, it was unfortunate what happened in race two with the clutch issue, but overall the weekend was a lot of fun until I ended up in the wall in race three.
“Stuff happens, we will learn and go better next time.”
In regard to the race three incident, Clemente was quick to take responsibility and was happy Soutar walked away penalty free.
“Zac (Soutar) and I get on well, nothing was going on and I didn’t even put a complaint in,” Clemente explained.
“When I got interviewed by Rusty, they asked if a penalty should be applied and I immediately thought they were talking about me.
“But when I found out it was about Zac, I put my hand up and said not to penalise him.”
After going two races without earning any series points, Clemente dropped down to eighth in the standings, now knowing he has some work to do if he wants to make up for some lost opportunities.
“One DNF wasn’t the end of the world, but when I got two in a row, that really hurt,” Clemente added.
“With the way TCR is, it awards consistency. Tony proved that last year that no DNFs can really make the difference.
“We knew passing would be a challenge, I’m not sure if it showed on TV but I think it’s a track that should stay on the calendar.
“We are going to Queensland next, it’s a similar track to Winton so I think the three rounds after that is where I can make up most of my points.
“We will never give up and I’ll have to race a lot harder from now on as well as a little smarter.”
The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will next feature at the Queensland raceway as part of the fifth round of the Shannons SpeedSeries calendar on 11-13 August.
Tickets for the event are now available from motorsporttickets.com.au.