26 April 2024 |

Defending Champ Claws Back Ground at Phillip Island

Press Release / HMO Customer Racing

Hyundai’s Josh Buchan closed in on the series lead with a double podium finish in the third round of the 2024 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series at Phillip Island.

The reigning TCR Australia Champion scored his first race victory of the season in the opening race when he stole the lead on the opening lap, and then managed his lap-record pace advantage over the rest of the field to greet the chequered flag first.

Looking to repeat his 2023 overall round victory at the spectacular seaside circuit, Buchan was prepared for a conservative run in the second race, which starts with a reversed grid for the top 10. But his plan was foiled at the first corner when a rival crashed into his Hyundai i30 N TCR, which caused severe damage to the rear suspension resulting in immediate retirement.

Determined to salvage a positive result, after his HMO Customer Racing team heroically repaired the car in time to start the third and final race, the 29-year-old Sydneysider charged through the field to finish on the podium. The strong result helped elevated him to third place on the driver’s championship ladder, just 22 points behind the new leader, Ben Bargwanna.

Teammate Tom Oliphant had a consistent run of top 10 finishes across the three races, finishing seventh, ninth and seventh respectively. His pace was hampered by carrying the maximum success ballast weight penalty following his maiden TCR Australia Series round victory in the previous event at Symmons Plains. The former British Touring Car Championship race winner was on course for a potential podium result in the reverse grid second race, having started on the second row, but, like Buchan, was crashed into by a rival which sent him off the road and lost numerous positions.

HMO Customer Racing next returns to The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia, for the first time since the inaugural TCR Australia Series in 2019, for the fourth round of the 2024 series on May 31-June 2.

Car 1: i30 N TCR – Josh Buchan
“When you look at the results – a double podium with a race victory – is pretty good, but it was also an unfortunate case of ‘what could have been’ after being poorly taken out in race two. I get racing, but that was a bit much.

“It was a great recovery drive to finish third in the final race, and miraculously climbing to third on the championship standings which I am quite pleased about. I’m now looking forward to the next round at The Bend and another opportunity to reclaim the lead in the title race.”

Car 15: i30 N TCR – Tom Oliphant
“We had a lot going against us on my side of the garage this weekend carrying the success ballast from Symmons Plains, which hurt us in terms of outright pace and tyre life. We had a real chance to making something from nothing in race two and I was sneaking my way into a potential podium finish, but then I was speared off the track.

“I should be leaving Phillip Island with a few more points on the scoreboard, which would be nice as I need every point I can get. I’ll take the positives though, as we finished all three races and scored a decent haul. It wasn’t spectacular, but I’m determined to create some spectacular at The Bend for the next round.”